Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced Friday two New York real estate brokers pleaded guilty conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Sixty-two-year-old Simon Curanaj of Yonkers and 59-year-old Michael Arroyo of the Bronx utilized bogus information and loan applications at several banks to obtain home equity lines of credit, a practice that is known as “shotgunning.”
Arroyo and Curanaj conspired with others to fraudulently obtain home equity lines of credit from multiple financial institutions on properties in New York and New Jersey from 2012 through January 2014. The defendants and codefendants transferred ownership of a property on Havermeyer Avenue to a man living at the property and his friend.
The defendants and codefendants applied for two home equity lines of credit in the man’s friend’s name from two financial institutions, utilizing that residential property. They failed to report to the bank that the property already was offered as collateral for a line of credit from another bank and inflated the friend’s income without authorization.
The financial institutions issued loans in excess of $500,000 to the friend. Arroyo and Curanaj and other received a portion of the funds. The victim banks lost $3.5 million.
Arroyo and Caranaj are facing a 30-year prison sentence and $1 million fine. Their sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 27, 2018.