The arrests of Scott Almeida, Orson Benn, Adrienne White, Frank Giffone, and Samuel Green for allegedly fraudulently obtaining mortgages in the names of local homeowners solicited for home improvement projects was the result of a three-year joint investigation by the Tampa Police Department (TPD), Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency (HCCPA), Pinellas County Department of Justice and Consumer Services (PCDJCS), Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution (OSWP), and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Investigators conducted hundreds of interviews, issued approximately 250 subpoenas, and reviewed tens of thousands of documents over this period of time.
Of the five charged, Orson Benn and Samuel Green are former high-ranking employees of the Argent Mortgage Company White Plains, New York office who, according to authorities, subverted Argent policies and approved fraudulent documents and loan packages submitted by the others.
The other three defendants, Scott Almeida, Frank Giffone and Adrienne White, are reportedly all former owners, principals or employees of the mortgage brokerages Advanced Mortgage Solutions
and Consumer Lending Resources
. In addition to the mortgage brokerages, they also operated two home improvement companies: Premier Quality Renovations
and Florida Beautiful Construction
, according to authorities.
In addition to Argent, fraudulent loans were also allegedly submitted by Almeida and processed and approved by Pinnacle Mortgage Company, Decision One Mortgage Company and Mortgage Lenders Network USA.
Authorities say Argent Mortgage executives and their outside legal counsel have cooperated with investigators and have provided information and documents to support the investigation. Argent has also communicated with and assisted the homeowners victimized in this case, many of whom were facing potential foreclosure actions
. (Strictly in terms of dollar amounts, however, Argent itself looks like the single biggest victim of the fraud).
For more, see FDLE News Release
- Former Mortgage Company Employees Charged in Multi-Million Dollar Racketeering Case
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