NAPLES — Ben Handa of Naples was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme, according to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
Handa was also ordered to pay $180,000 in restitution, states an OFR press release. The sentence follows a plea of no contest in February 2019.
The OFR investigation revealed Handa forged and filed a quitclaim deed, falsely giving him ownership of a single-family home in Naples valued at more than $375,000, the statement says. Authorities also contended he fraudulently obtained two mortgages against the property totaling more than $180,000, representing in his loan application that the property was generating rental income from a lease. Handa used the mortgage loan proceeds for his personal expenses, the OFR alleged.
“Thank you to our investigators, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the State Attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit for their hard work in stopping this scam and bringing this criminal to justice," says OFR Acting Bureau Chief of Financial Investigations Alex Toledo in a statement. "We will continue to fight to protect Floridians from financial fraud.”
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the investigation. Assistant State Attorney Tino Cimato with the State Attorney's Office for the 20th Judicial Circuit prosecuted the case.