The Resolution Law Group: West Hartford Lawyer Charged In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A West Hartford lawyer who took part in a $3.5 million mortgage fraud scheme has pleaded guilty to federal charges, according to federal prosecutors.

Gabriel R. “Gabe” Serrano, 47, plead guilty August 6 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud, a charge that carries a maximum prison term of 30 years, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, a charge that carries a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut, from June 2005 to at least November 2008, Serrano was involved in a conspiracy that involved straw borrowers, false mortgage applications, false Housing and Urban Development forms, fraudulent down payments, and false verification forms for the purchase of numerous houses in Hartford, New Haven, and Middlesex counties.

Prosecutors say Serrano served as the closing attorney on at least 24 fraudulent transactions. Specifically, he is alleged to have served as the closing attorney when a co-conspirator purchased properties with financing from private lenders. Later, when the co-conspirator sold many of the properties, Serrano usually represented the buyer. Authorities said that Serrano knew that his accomplice, and not the buyer, had provided the down payment money. In this way, contrary to what Serrano led mortgage lenders to believe, the buyers were purchasing properties with no down payment funds of their own.

In addition, some borrowers purchased multiple properties from Serrano’s co-conspirator and represented to mortgage lenders that they were purchasing each home as their primary residence. Serrano reportedly knew that the borrowers did not intend to use the properties as primary residences.

In the course of many of the fraudulent closings, Serrano received mortgage proceeds from banks and mortgage lenders. Serrano would frequently disburse some of those proceeds to private parties who had loaned his co-conspirator money to purchase those properties.

Serrano is an attorney at the West Hartford firm of Serrano & Serrano, which he started in 1993 with his older brother, John. The firm also has a Waterbury location. According to a statement released by the firm, Gabe Serrano’s role in the scheme involved two dozen real estate closings related to a single client.

“Over the past 20 years, Gabe has provided legal services to hundreds of clients on thousands of cases,” read the statement. “Gabe deeply regrets the poor judgment shown through his actions and, as reflected through his timely guilty plea, accepts full and complete responsibility for his involvement in the matter.”

The statement said John Serrano has assumed primary responsibility for all of the firm’s cases.

Gabe Serrano received his law degree from Hofstra University in 1991. He had managed the firm’s real estate department.

A West Hartford lawyer who took part in a $3.5 million mortgage fraud scheme has pleaded guilty to federal charges, according to federal prosecutors.

Gabriel R. “Gabe” Serrano, 47, pled guilty August 6 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud, a charge that carries a maximum prison term of 30 years, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, a charge that carries a sentence of up to 10 years behind bars.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut, from June 2005 to at least November 2008, Serrano was involved in a conspiracy that involved straw borrowers, false mortgage applications, false Housing and Urban Development forms, fraudulent down payments, and false verification forms for the purchase of numerous houses in Hartford, New Haven, and Middlesex counties.

Prosecutors say Serrano served as the closing attorney on at least 24 fraudulent transactions. Specifically, he is alleged to have served as the closing attorney when a co-conspirator purchased properties with financing from private lenders. Later, when the co-conspirator sold many of the properties, Serrano usually represented the buyer. Authorities said that Serrano knew that his accomplice, and not the buyer, had provided the down payment money. In this way, contrary to what Serrano led mortgage lenders to believe, the buyers were purchasing properties with no down payment funds of their own.

In addition, some borrowers purchased multiple properties from Serrano’s co-conspirator and represented to mortgage lenders that they were purchasing each home as their primary residence. Serrano reportedly knew that the borrowers did not intend to use the properties as primary residences.

In the course of many of the fraudulent closings, Serrano received mortgage proceeds from banks and mortgage lenders. Serrano would frequently disburse some of those proceeds to private parties who had loaned his co-conspirator money to purchase those properties.

Serrano is an attorney at the West Hartford firm of Serrano & Serrano, which he started in 1993 with his older brother, John. The firm also has a Waterbury location. According to a statement released by the firm, Gabe Serrano’s role in the scheme involved two dozen real estate closings related to a single client.

“Over the past 20 years, Gabe has provided legal services to hundreds of clients on thousands of cases,” read the statement. “Gabe deeply regrets the poor judgment shown through his actions and, as reflected through his timely guilty plea, accepts full and complete responsibility for his involvement in the matter.”

The statement said John Serrano has assumed primary responsibility for all of the firm’s cases.

Gabe Serrano received his law degree from Hofstra University in 1991. He had managed the firm’s real estate department.

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