On Friday, it was announced that a dual U.S.-Irish citizen had been extradited from Ireland to face mortgage fraud charges. The defendant was arraigned in a federal court room in Boson on charges of mortgage fraud and identity theft. The extradition was Ireland’s first to the United States since 2012. 44-year-old Patrick Lee was indicted on 29 counts of wire fraud, six counts of unlawful monetary transactions and 16 counts of aggravated identity theft in 2011.
Lee, who formerly lived in Canton and Easton, Massachusetts, had been living in Ireland since 2007. It is alleged that Lee participated in a mortgage fraud scheme from 2005 to 2007. The indictment alleges that Lee and others purchased multi-family properties in South Boston and Dorchester and then converted them into condos. Lee recruited straw buyers and paid a fee to sign the purchase documents. The straw buyers had no intention of living in the condos.
Then, Lee and others worked with mortgage brokers to prepare false mortgage loan applications, which were signed by the straw buyers. It is alleged that Lee prepared appraisals for the properties using the name and license number for licensed appraiser. Lee was not a licensed appraiser. It is also alleged that Lee arranged for certain real estate attorneys to conduct closings using false and misleading documents. Then, the applications were provided to mortgage lenders, who funded the loans based on the false appraisals and other misrepresentations.
The loans were eventually paid to Lee and other sellers. The straw buyers moved into the properties and paid the mortgage loans. The properties went into foreclosure and the lenders lost their money. Some of the closing documents confirmed that Lee would receive a portion of the loan proceeds. However, he usually received more than what was stated. At this point in time, Lee is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court law.
Additional details can be found here.