Aggressive federal criminal defense often required in wake of Miami mortgage fraud charges

The former manager of a branch of Top Dot Mortgage has been sentenced on criminal mortgage fraud charges in Miami, the South Florida Business Journal reported.

As we continue to report, hiring a federal criminal defense attorney is critical to combating the wave of mortgage fraud charges being lodged by the federal government. With increasing frequency, the government is using conspiracy and wire and mail fraud charges to prosecute alleged mortgage fraud.

In this case, Jason Vitulano, 44, the former manager of Top Dot Mortgage’s Boca Raton branch, was sentenced to five years in prison. Co-defendant Joseph Miller, 64, of Palm Beach Gardens, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was accused of acting as a title agent on a number of fraudulent closings.

Steve Vento, 42, of Jupiter, received a year in prison on conspiracy charges; authorities say he submitted fraudulent loan applications. Peter Hartofolis, 33, of New York, also a Top Dot Mortgage manager, was sentenced to two years and three months.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida alleged that the group used fraudulent loan applications, including inflated earnings statements and assets on deposit.

Meanwhile, the South Florida Business Journal reports that mortgage fraud is worse in Florida than anywhere in the country except California. An estimated $146.7 million in cases were filed in the second quarter.

Many of those cases are being filed in federal court, although Attorney General Bill McCollum also has more than 60 active investigations under way.