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Former Wyckoff Settlement Agent Convicted Of Mortgage Fraud, Tax Evasion

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

WYCKOFF, N.J. -- Federal jurors deliberated for 90 minutes Friday before convicting a former settlement agent from Wyckoff of bank fraud and other charges involving refinanced properties in Bergen and Morris counties.

A judge scheduled a Jan. 23 sentencing for Mark Andreotti, 46, following guilty verdicts to six counts, including conspiracy and tax evasion, following a two-week trial in U.S. District Court in Newark.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick, Andreotti submitted a loan application to a bank requesting $625,000 to refinance the mortgage on his house in Wyckoff in January 2010.

"Andreotti, who owned and operated Metropolitan Title and Abstract (Metropolitan), used Metropolitan as the settlement agent on the transaction," Fitzpatrick said. "After the bank transferred the $625,000 for the refinance to Metropolitan’s escrow account, Andreotti spent the money on personal expenses instead of paying off the first mortgage on the house.

"In April 2011, Andreotti conspired with another individual who worked as a real estate attorney to obtain $480,000 by claiming that the money would be used to refinance the mortgage on the attorney’s house in Montville," the U.S. Attorney said. "After the bank transferred the money for the refinance to Metropolitan’s escrow account, Andreotti kept $110,000 for himself before transferring the remaining funds to the other conspirator.

"In 2010, the IRS initiated collection actions against Andreotti for unpaid personal income taxes. Despite numerous liens and levies and having five rental income properties in addition to his primary residence, Andreotti continued to evade his taxes. He also failed to file tax returns for the tax years 2010 and 2011."

Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General, the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation and investigators with his office for the investigation.

Handling the case for the government are Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Chen in Newark and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Divine of the Federal Housing and Finance Agency Office of Inspector General.

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