Industry News

Eight indicted in mortgage fraud scheme

Defendants allegedly stole more than $3 million in property funds

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Eight defendants were indicted in southern Florida last week in connection with an elaborate mortgage fraud scheme in which they allegedly bilked victims out of more than $3 million in property funds. A grand jury in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., returned a 53-count indictment charging defendants Samantha Johnson, Scott Warren Johnson, Mary Jo Bellavia-Sabag, Shelia Darlene Henry, Christie M. Eker, Lawrence Joel Bochner, Danielle Messano and Yizhac Sabag with conspiring to defraud owners of residential properties located in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, according to a U.S. Attorney's office statement. All of the defendants named in the indictment, except defendant Messano, are charged with violations in addition to the conspiracy count, including mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, filing false tax returns and tax evasion. According to the indictment, Samantha Johnson and Bellavia-Sabag, both licensed mortgage brokers, orchestrated a scheme in which they fraudulently deeded resident...