Article Courtesy of The Daily
By Samantha Joseph
Published November 9, 2017
A federal jury Monday convicted a real estate
professional in a $20 million mortgage fraud involving a Fort Lauderdale
luxury condominium building.
After a three-week trial before Senior U.S. District Judge James I.
Cohn, jurors found Sunny Isles Beach resident Marco Laureti guilty of
one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and seven counts of wire
fraud affecting financial institution Washington Mutual.
Prosecutors say Laureti used the profits from the scam to purchase a
$6.9 million estate in Miami Beach. They charged him via a superseding
indictment filed under seal on Dec. 16, 2016.
Laureti was a mortgage broker, lender, real estate agent and Miami
newspaper publisher, according to information released Tuesday by the
Department of Justice. He was a licensed Florida real estate agent and
former licensed mortgage broker who owned several companies, including a
news operation called Laureti Publishing Co. He also controlled
Northview Equities, Northview Real Estate, Northview Capital, Laureti
Holdings Co., Laureti Media Group Inc., ReTrade Inc. and M4 Management.
Prosecutors said he worked with three other conspirators to falsify
mortgage loan applications and closing statements for
multimillion-dollar condominiums at a waterfront mid-rise at 45
Hendricks Isle, near Las Olas Boulevard and downtown Fort Lauderdale.
They charged Felix Mostelac, 45, of Miami; Michelle Cabrera, 49, of
Miami Lakes; and Pedro Melian, 40, of Hialeah, in the scheme.
Cabrera and Melian pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and
will be sentenced Nov. 17 before U.S. District Judge William P.
Dimitrouleas. Melian was the principal of Melian’s Investment Group.
Mostelac is a fugitive who has likely fled the country, according to the
Justice Department. He operated American Holdings Group and Mostelac
Laureti’s lawyer, David Michael Garvin of Miami, did not immediately
respond to a request for comment.
In its prosecution, the government argued the defendants defrauded a
financial institution by “grossly inflating income and bank account
balances” on mortgage loan applications.
“Once these loans were approved, defendant Cabrera, at Laureti’s
direction, diverted the loan proceeds to fund the cash the borrower was
expected to bring to the property’s closing, as well as diverting
additional monies from the loan proceeds to various companies owned by
Laureti and Mostelac,” according to the DOJ.
Cabrera owned Florida Elite Title & Escrow and served as closing agent
on the deals. He made $10,000 for each fraudulent transaction Laureti
and Mostelac initiated, according the DOJ. Prosecutors alleged Laureti
and Mostelac doctored their own mortgage loan applications and closing
statements to acquire multimillion-dollar real estate holdings,
including Mostelac’s $6.5 million dollar condominium.
All told, prosecutors say the group defrauded a lender of $20 million.
Laureti’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25. He faces up to 30
years in prison on each count, restitution and a $250,000 fine on each