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$20 Million Mortgage Fraud gets Miami Beach Realtor Prison Time

One Miami man won't be living in the luxurious homes he has been used to thanks to his part in a $20 million mortgage fraud that spanned from South Beach to Ft. Lauderdale. Now, he'll spend 15 years in prison and have five years of supervised release following his prison time. That comes out to roughly one year of federal corrections supervision for each million dollars of fraud.

The Conviction

Marco Laureiti has been convicted of seven counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He also owes $8, 316, 135 in restitution.

His co-conspirator, Michelle Cabrera, who used her title company in the scheme, received a two year and one month prison sentence, and five years of supervised release with $10,502,772.99 owed in restitution.

Pedro Melian, who provided fake buyers for one of the properties by using his mother as a "buyer," got five years of probation and $3,778,032.16 in restitution.

A fourth conspirator, Felix Mostelac, is believed to have skipped the country and has not been located yet.

The Fraud Scheme

To pull of the mortgage scheme, the foursome worked together to scam Washington Mutual, one of the banks that folded during the financial crisis of 2007-2009, into approving mortgages based on fake applications. They would submit an application that would lie about a buyer's income, assets, or down payment (or all of the above), and submit the application to Washington Mutual. The bank would approve the loan and send the money to Florida Title, which was Cabrera's company. Some of the money would be used to pay a cash down payment for a unit, and the rest of the money was pocketed by the foursome as fraudulent profit.

Widespread Repercussions

Because these scammers had no intention of actually buying the units they submitted mortgage applications for, and they actually walked away with the funds, the bank was forced to foreclose on the properties. Additionally, the buildings where the units were located were forced to make special assessments or staffing cuts because of the lack in resident maintenance fees from those particular units.


The luxurious lifestyle is all too tempting for some, and there are folks who are willing to risk their freedom in order to obtain it. If you have been accused of a crime such as wire fraud, it's a good idea to seek the legal advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system with regards to your charges.

References:
Neal, D. J. (n.d.). He directed $20 million in fake luxury home buys. That bought real prison time. Retrieved February 14, 2018, from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article197815149.html

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