5 charged in North Shore mortgage fraud scheme

The U.S. Justice Department today said federal charges were filed against five people from the northern suburbs who are accused of engaging in a $15.7 million residential mortgage and construction loan fraud scheme.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago said the people charged caused lenders and a title company to lose more than $8 million, in part by using loan proceeds to make “lulling interest payments” in several residential mortgages.

In addition, interest payments were made on a $26 million loan used to finance the acquisition of 14 acres at Dundee Road and Skokie Boulevard in Northbrook for a proposed mixed-use development, which prosecutors say “ultimately fell into foreclosure.”

Three of the people charged in the scheme are former executives of the now-defunct EAG Capital Holdings, Inc. (EAG) They are Edward Renko, 49, of Glenview; Alexander Field, 42, of Northbrook; and Gary Fishkin, 54, of Glencoe.

Renko faces two counts of wire fraud and one count each of bank fraud and making a false statement to influence the action of a bank. Field faces  three counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud, while Fishkin faces two counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud and making a false statement to influence the action of a bank.

Also charged were Kalliope Shaykin, 51, of Chicago, the former president of Schaumburg-based Absolute Title Services, Inc. She faces seven counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to influence the action of a bank. 41-year-old Tatayana Furman, of Northbrook, a former loan officer and mortgage broker at American United Mortgage Co., was charged with seven counts of wire fraud. American United was half-owned by EAG.

The U.S. attorney’s office said the defendants fraudulently obtained more than $8 million in residential loan proceeds “by repeatedly obtaining mortgages secured by residences owned by Renko, Field and Fishkin” in Northbrook.

Rather than use the loans to pay off existing mortgages, they allegedly converted them to their own uses, including personal expenses and interest payments on the $26 million loan for the proposed “Center of the Northshore” in Northbrook.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the 11-count indictment only contains charges “and is not evidence of guilt.” They each face prison sentences of up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine, but because most of the counts involve financial institutions, the prison penalties could be up to 30 years.

Chicago Tribune, June 3, 2011

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