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$54.7M mortgage fraud investor pleads guilty

Fraud investor pleads guilty

Aron Puretz, a New Jersey man charged with $54.7M mortgage fraud, has recently pleaded guilty in an ongoing court case.

According to the Justice Department, Puretz, 53, was charged with working with a series of co-conspirators to obtain illegal multifamily and commercial mortgage loans.

Mortgage fraud orchestrator pleads guilty

Purtez has now held his hands up and has pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud affecting a financial institution.

The saga of illegal activity started in 2016 when Perez joined Apex Equity Group. He also owned Maple Lawn in Eureka, Illinois, Big Country Chateau in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the commercial property Troy Technology Park in Troy, Michigan.

Through these entities and his actions, Purtez performed the fraudulent acts of falsifying business documents, purchasing contracts, and inflating the prices of the properties these entities purchased.

Purtez would solicit lenders to buy a business and inflate the sales price. This would then create a cycle in which Apex Equity Group would take home a pretty profit from each illegal inflation and hoodwink of the lender roped into the deal.

In February 2017, Maple Lawn was acquired for $4.1 million. Still, Purtez and his seemingly legitimate partners then wove a complex web of deceit, concocting a sale contract for $5.8 million to an unsuspecting lender and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.

This convoluted scheme resulted in an illegal sale, with “a title and settlement company based in Lakewood, New Jersey, (it) performed two closings, one for the true $4.1 million sales price and another for the fraudulent $5.8 million sales price presented to the lender,” said the DoJ.

Purtez also put forward a shell non-profit company, JPC Charities, to receive tax-exempt status for himself and his gang of conspirators in Illinois.

Purtez continues his trail of fraud

Furthermore, Purtez defrauded the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the 2019 acquisition of Big Country Chateau. He hid his involvement in the deal as he knew federal lenders would not allow him to take on the business. He swindled another conspirator into taking the deal on without making the federal entities aware.

In 2020, Purtez and his dodgy-dealing friends inflated Troy Technology Park’s purchase price. They cooked the books to increase the sales from $42.7 million to $70 million with an illegal contract.

The DoJ said that “Puretz and his co-conspirators submitted to the lender and appraiser a fraudulent letter of intent to purchase the property from another party for $68 million and other fraudulent documents. To conceal the fraudulent nature of the transaction, Puretz and his co-conspirators arranged for a short-term $30 million loan, which was used to make it appear that they had the funds needed to close on the loan.”

Purtez could face up to five years in jail for his part in this elaborate multi-million dollar scheme. He will be sentenced by a federal district court judge on October 30.

Image: Ideogram.

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