STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford attorney Christopher Brecciano pleaded guilty to federal mortgage fraud charges and faces up 30 years in prison, said the U.S. Attorney's Office in Connecticut.
Brecciano waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty Wednesday, Feb. 12, in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. The conspiracy defrauded financial institutions through an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that involved dozens of properties in Fairfield County, the U.S. attorney said.
Brecciano, 35, acted as a closing attorney for at least 50 mortgage loan transactions from 2006 to 2010 in which materially false information was provided to mortgage lenders by Brecciano or his co-conspirators, the U.S. attorney said.
The conspiracy involved the purchase of many single and multi-family properties, primarily in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford.
The fraudulent information included false verifications of down payments for real estate transactions, false deeds, and false HUD-1 Forms.
In many of the transactions, Brecciano knew that the borrower was a “straw buyer,” and that other individuals intended to control the property and collect rent from it, the U.S. attorney said. In many transactions, he distributed mortgage loan funds to the straw buyer and other co-conspirators at the closing.
Many of these properties ended up in foreclosure, or in short sale transactions. Through this scheme, lenders sustained losses of more than $7 million.
In pleading guilty, he admitted that he was also involved in many short sale transactions in which he knew that the buyer and seller were working together to retain control of the property while representing to the lender that the sale was an arm’s length transaction.
By pleading guilty, Brecciano faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. He will be sentenced on May 7.
The FBI is continuing to investigate this ongoing case.