U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney
District of Connecticut

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Connecticut Man Admits Role in $3.2 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Domingos Dias, 42, of New Haven, formerly of Trumbull, Conn., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport, Conn., to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and seven counts of wire fraud, announced David B. Fein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.   The charges stem from Dias’s involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme that has caused more than $3 million in losses to lenders.


According to court documents and statements made in court, Dias participated in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain real estate loans from banks and mortgage lenders through the use of straw buyers.   As part of the scheme, Dias recruited the straw buyers and then created false verifications of employment, false verifications of rent and other false documentation that was used to qualify the straw buyers for the fraudulent mortgages.   Once the mortgage loans were closed, Dias distributed some of the proceeds of the scheme to the straw buyers and kept some of the money for himself.


Dias sometimes used his wholly-owned limited liability company, Peoples Choice General Contractors, to falsely verify the employment of straw buyers and also to receive mortgage funds for “services rendered” when, in fact, no general contracting or other services had been provided to the seller or the buyer of the properties.


In pleading guilty, Dias admitted that in 2006 and 2007 he conspired to defraud lenders in relation to the purchase of three residential real estate properties in Bridgeport and one in Stratford, Conn.   As a result, the mortgage lenders have suffered approximately $750,000 in losses.


Dias also has agreed that the conspiracy involved the fraudulent purchase of another eight properties in Connecticut and Indiana, causing a total of $3.2 million in losses to lenders.


Judge Underhill scheduled sentencing for May 3, 2012, at which time Dias faces a maximum term of 20 years in prison on each count and a fine of up to approximately $6.4 million.


This matter is being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.   The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Nevins.


Citizens are encouraged to report any suspected mortgage fraud activity by calling 203-333-3512 and requesting the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force, or by sending an email to ctmortgagefraud@ic.fbi.gov .


The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; FBI; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General; and the state of Connecticut Department of Banking.


This case was brought in coordination with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources.   The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.


To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov .

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