Man admits role in $40.8M mortgage loan fraud

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say a southern New Jersey has admitted his role in a $40.8 million mortgage fraud conspiracy.

Robert Serao faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine when he's sentenced June 24.

The 48-year-old Berkeley Township resident pleaded guilty last Friday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Serao admitted using his position as a loan officer of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to get the company to release more than $4.6 million based on fraudulent mortgage loan applications.

Serao is the 10th defendant to plead guilty in the case.

Prosecutors say that while working in various positions at the company, Serao entered into a conspiracy with several others to submit mortgage loans to his employer for financially unqualified "straw buyers."

The loan requests were based upon false and fraudulent information contained in various documents submitted with the applications made to Wells Fargo and other mortgage lenders.

Once the loans were approved and the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with the real estate closing on the properties, Serao's conspirators took a portion of the proceeds from the fraudulent mortgage loans.

Serao profited from his role in the conspiracy by increased commissions on the mortgage funds, prosecutors said.

Published: Tue, Mar 18, 2014