Bergen County Man Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Role in Fraud Scheme

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NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud financial institutions of hundreds of thousands of dollars, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Dennys Tapia, 55, of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Judge Chesler imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From 2015 to 2018, Tapia conspired with others to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans from financial institutions, including “Mortgage Lender A” and “Mortgage Lender B,” to finance the purchase of properties by unqualified buyers. Applicants for mortgage loans are required to list their assets and income on their mortgage loan applications, and mortgage lenders rely on those applications when deciding whether to issue mortgage loans.

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Tapia admitted participating in a conspiracy in which he knowingly provided fraudulent documents to a loan officer at Mortgage Lender A for potential borrowers, including fraudulent lease agreements, bank statements, and a gift check and gift letter. Based on this false information, Mortgage Lender A issued mortgage loans to unqualified buyers, which caused Mortgage Lender A hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. Some of the loans Mortgage Lender A issued to unqualified borrowers were sold to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation “Freddie Mac,” a government-sponsored enterprise with the mission of providing liquidity, stability, and affordability in the United States housing market.

Tapia also admitted causing a straw borrower, “Individual A,” to apply to Mortgage Lender B for a cash-out refinance mortgage loan that contained multiple misrepresentations of material facts and fraudulent documents, including pay stubs and a verification of employment. Based on the false information submitted by Individual A and Tapia, Mortgage Lender B issued a false and fraudulent cash-out refinance mortgage loan, which resulted in Tapia earnings tens of thousands of dollars in profits.  

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In addition to the prison term, Judge Chesler sentenced Tapia to two years of supervised release and ordered restitution of $182,508 and forfeiture of $176,532.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Manchak, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Fayer of the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Divine of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General.

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