The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) announced that Delio Coutinho pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The New Jersey-based Coutinho admitted to his role in a large-scale mortgage fraud scheme that caused millions of dollars in losses.
"The fraudulent mortgage scheme that Coutinho and his co-conspirators committed is precisely the sort of fraud that helped lead to the nation's financial crisis in 2008," said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General.
The scheme utilized Coutinho's position as a loan officer at a northern New Jersey mortgage brokerage company. From March 2008 through June 2012, Coutinho and his co-defendants conspired with each other to release liens on properties via fraudulently arranged short sales.
This allowed the group to profit from new and fraudulent mortgage loans obtained on the properties from other lenders. Additionally, the group submitted false closing and other documents to mortgage lenders, including false loan applications to TARP banks.
"Coutinho and his co-conspirators then distributed the proceeds of the loans—eventually totaling $2 million—among themselves and others. If you defraud a TARP bank, SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners will bring you to justice and hold you accountable for your crimes," Romero added.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $100,000 fine for Coutinho.