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$2M mortgage scam nets Sarasota man six-year prison term

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  • | 5:49 p.m. November 7, 2013
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TAMPA — Sarasota resident J. Patrick Brester has been sentenced to six years in federal prison for his role in a property flipping mortgage fraud scheme.

U.S. District Judge Richard Lazzara also ordered Brester, 41, to forfeit $1,995,800 that's traceable to proceeds of the offense, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office. Brester was found guilty June 4 of conspiring to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and committing wire fraud affecting a financial institution. 

Brester, according to court documents and evidence presented at trial, conspired with Michael Chadwick, Matthew Landsman, Joshua Unger and others to engage in fraudulent cash-back-to-buyer mortgage transactions, the release states. The transactions involve the 2007 purchase and sale of condos at Vintage Grand in Sarasota.

Each fraudulent transaction involved Brester first purchasing the unit from the development company, Sarasota 432 LLC, and then simultaneously flipping it to Michael Chadwick, authorities contend. Brester and his co-conspirators deceived mortgage lenders about the true nature of the transactions, the release states. They inflated the purchase prices of the properties, and ultimately the amount lent by the mortgage lenders, to include fees that were falsely described as “management fees” payable to shell corporations under their control. 

But the fees were actually how Brester and his co-conspirators funneled cash back to themselves without the lenders' knowledge, prosecutors say. Evidence presented at trial showed Brester made over $550,000 from his role in the conspiracy, the release states. Mortgage lenders incurred a loss of over $1.2 million from the conspiracy.

Chadwick was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison on Oct. 19, 2010. Landsman was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence on Aug. 19, 2011. Unger was ordered to serve a 15-month prison term on June 27. Those three and Brester were ordered to pay $1,266,156 in restitution to the financial institutions involved in the case.


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