1 United States Attorney Robert E. O Neill Middle District of Florida FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: WILLIAM DANIELS SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 (813) CLEARWATER MAN SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 17 YEARS FOR SCHEME TO DEFRAUD PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS AND 84 YEAR OLD MAN Tampa, Florida - U.S. District Judge James Moody yesterday sentenced Robert Edwards (28, Clearwater) to 17½ years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As part of his sentence, the court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $4,751,881.63, the proceeds of the conspiracy. Edwards was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,184, According to court documents, Edwards and his co-conspirators engaged in a fraud scheme designed to steal money from two private equity lenders and an 84-yearold man. The fraud was uncovered after the conspirators fraudulently obtained a multimillion dollar loan that was purportedly secured by a first-priority mortgage, along with other financial guarantees, in Harbourtowne at Countrywoods, a condominium development located in Dunedin. The owner of the development hired his son, Marc Allen, to manage the condominium development, granting him a limited power of attorney to lease units and manage the property. Allen had no legal right to encumber the property or otherwise pledge the property as collateral.
2 Edwards and Allen created and filed a fraudulent Power of Attorney, bearing the forged signature of William Allen, purporting to empower Marc Gregory Allen to encumber the development. Marc Allen obtained a mortgage, encumbering Harbourtowne, based upon the fraudulent claim that he had the legal right to engage in the transaction. Edwards and Marc Allen subsequently negotiated a $3,054, loan based upon fraudulent and non-existent collateral. Edwards created fraudulent documents in pursuit of the loan and also created a forged Letter of Credit for $5 million from East West Bankcorp, which purported to secure the loan. In fact the conspirators had no legitimate relationship with East West Bankcorp. Edwards and Marc Allen also devised a scheme to divert the portion of the loan proceeds intended to satisfy the previous mortgage into accounts they controlled. The total amount of loss resulting from the fraud was $4,751, In addition, at least eight different personal identities were stolen, including those of two attorneys and three notaries. Edwards also stole an additional $500,000 directly from Marc Allen's 84-yearold father and used the stolen money to pay for his personal indulgences. Marc Allen pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme. A sentencing hearing has not yet been set. This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas N. Palermo and Laurel Moore Lee. ### DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, PLEASE USE THE CONTACTS IN THE MESSAGE OR CALL THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY S OFFICE AT
3 United States Attorney Robert E. O Neill Middle District of Florida FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: WILLIAM DANIELS OCTOBER 19, 2012 (813) FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS THREE OF MORTGAGE FRAUD "FLOPPING" Tampa, Florida - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that a federal jury today found John Lebron (33, Tampa), Patricia Lebron (36, Tampa), and Paul Gogolewski (31, Tampa) guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. John Lebron was also found guilty of making false statements to financial institutions. All three individuals face a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment. Their sentencings are scheduled for January 18, According to the testimony and evidence presented at trial, the individuals conspired together to "flop" houses. "Flopping" is a form of short sale fraud involving conducting a short sale on a property and then "flipping" the property in a non-arms' length transaction. John Lebron was a Florida-licensed realtor and worked as a loan officer. Patricia Lebron is a Florida-licensed realtor. Paul Gogolewski was the President of Synergy Solutions. Together, they targeted unsophisticated, low income homeowners, who were in financial distress and convinced them to sell their houses to a straw purchaser, in a non-arms' length transaction. For a brief period of time, the conspirators
4 would pay the mortgage payments but then stopped. They then arranged a short sale of the property from the straw purchaser to one of the conspirators. In that short sale, the lender to the straw purchaser suffered an immediate loss of approximately 80% of the original loan. Then, six days later but using deeds recorded simultaneously, the properties were re-sold to another straw purchaser for approximately 350% more than the short sale amount. In these deals, the conspirators pocketed the money that should have gone to the original distressed home owner, received the mortgage broker commission for arranging the first straw purchaser's loan, and got the difference between the short sale amount and the new loan. The straw purchasers were all paid $5,000 for their role. In all, this case involved at $1.5 million dollars in loans. The U.S. Secret Service takes great pleasure in working with the U.S. Attorney s Office to bring these individuals to justice," said John Joyce, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service. "This case is particularly egregious on several fronts. Mr. Lebron had the audacity to commit his fraudulent acts while he was on probation, he involved his family members and he defaulted on $1.4 million in loans. These individuals knowingly preyed upon and abused the financial system that supports home mortgages for their own personal gain." In addition, John Lebron acquired four other loans through fraud. He used false identities, verified his own false employment, and for at least one of the properties, bought it as his primary residence when he legally could not move into it. John Lebron committed these crimes while on pretrial release and probation. This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.
5 ### DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, PLEASE USE THE CONTACTS IN THE MESSAGE OR CALL THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY S OFFICE AT
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