Brooklyn, NY - (WALK) Three Long Island men are accused of participating in a home mortgage refinancing swindle, cheating as many as 500 people out of more than $2 million, according to federal prosecutors Wednesday.
The defendants convinced distressed homeowners that they were authorized to accept payments to gain access to money through the federal subsidized Home Affordable Modification Program, part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), widely known as the "bailout" program implemented following the economic crash of 2008. The program is available to eligible homeowners for free.
"This office has zero tolerance for those who would target already distressed borrowers in hopes of turning a profit at their expense," said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Their false promises netted the defendants about $2.3 from their victims, according to Bharara.
The Long Island suspects are Aren Goldfaden, 36, of East Rockaway; Darrell Keys, 51, of Uniondale; and Jonathan Lyons, 51, of Rockville Centre. Lyons and Goldfaden are charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Keys pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison, according to prosecutors.
"... these defendants told one lie after another, purporting to help struggling homeowners looking for an end to their financial troubles, but instead defrauding them out of millions," said Bharara.
The four other men charged in the case are Scott Schreiber, 30, of Brooklyn; Anthony Blackwell, 47, of Manhattan; Guy Samuel, 32, of Richmond Hill and Angel Gonzalez, 31 of Rosedale.
Logo: US Dept. of Justice