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Guilty Pleas in Scheme To Steal Mortgage Payoff Money – US Attorney

LawFuel.com – US Attorney News –
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, and RONALD J. VERROCHIO, the
Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States
Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced guilty pleas in a
scheme to steal over $6 million in money obtained from banks
through home mortgage loans for the purchase of residential
properties, which funds were supposed to be used to pay off
existing mortgages on the properties. ERIC KOPPELMAN pleaded
guilty today to conspiracy to commit bank fraud before United
States District Judge PAUL G. GARDEPHE. Previously, in August
2009, KOPPELMAN’s co-conspirator, IRSHAD RAMZAN, a/k/a “Tony,”
pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud before United
States District Judge NAOMI REICE BUCHWALD.
According to the Informations to which KOPPELMAN and
RAMZAN pleaded guilty and statements made by them during their
guilty plea proceedings:
RAMZAN controlled the operations of a business called
44th Street Home Funding, Inc., which did business under the
trade name “Platinum Funding”. Platinum Funding was located in
South Ozone Park, New York, and engaged in the business of, among
other things, brokering retail real estate and mortgage
transactions, that is, arranging for the sales of homes and
arranging for home mortgage loans for persons wishing to purchase
homes or refinance loans on existing homes in the State of New
York.
KOPPELMAN was an employee of Aegis America LLC
(“Aegis”), the offices of which were in Manhattan. Aegis
provided services in connection with the closings of the sales of
residences in the State of New York.
-2-
From 2004 through October 2005, KOPPELMAN and RAMZAN
engaged in a scheme to steal the funds obtained from banks as
part of home mortgage loan transactions that were to be used to
pay off various residential real estate transactions processed
through Platinum Funding and/or Aegis.
In order to effect this illegal scheme, KOPPELMAN and
RAMZAN:
• issued, and cause to be issued, checks
representing all or part of the funds that were to
be used to satisfy mortgages to one or more
companies controlled by KOPPELMAN or RAMZAN; and
• falsely and fraudulently represented to the
financial institutions providing home mortgage
loans that part of the proceeds of the mortgage
loans to buyers were being used to satisfy the
seller’s mortgage loan, when, in truth and in
fact, these funds were being used by KOPPELMAN and
RAMZAN for their own purposes.
KOPPELMAN, 49, of Hauppauge, New York, and RAMZAN, 36,
of Baldwin, New York, are each charged with conspiracy to commit
bank fraud. They each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in
prison, as well as a fine and a term of supervised release.
KOPPELMAN is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge
GARDEPHE on May 25, 2010.
RAMZAN is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge
BUCHWALD on March 25, 2010, on the bank fraud conspiracy charge
and on a conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bank fraud charge
arising out of a separate scheme to which RAMZAN pleaded guilty
in October 2007.
Mr. BHARARA praised the work of the USPIS and thanked
them for their work in this case.
These cases are being prosecuted by the Office’s
Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorney DANIEL W.
LEVY is in charge of the prosecutions.
10-063 ###

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