Essex County man pleads guilty in Wildwoods mortgage scheme

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WILDWOOD– An Essex County man admitted Tuesday to conspiring to defraud financial institutions as part of a $15 million mortgage scheme that used phony documents and “straw buyers” to make illegal profits on overbuilt condos in the Wildwoods, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Larry Fullenwider, 63, of Belleville in EssexCounty, pleaded guilty to a second superseding indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in Camden federal court.

Fullenwider admitted purchasing four condominiums in North Wildwood using the alias “Stanley Hyde” after presenting a false identification and using fake documents to support fraudulent loan applications.

Fullenwider was among 11 defendants charged in July 2012 with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. At the time, Wildwood lawyer Seth Fuscellero was also charged in the conspiracy, but those charges were dropped last September.

Two additional defendants, Nicholas Tarsia, 65, of Totowa and Mashon Onque, 43, of East Orange, were charged in November 2013 with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Tarsia was also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Fullenwider’s conspirators, including Timothy Ricks, 46, of East Orange, and Kinard

Henson of Ventres, Ala. located oceanfront condominiums overbuilt by financially distressed developers and negotiated a buyout price with the sellers, according to Fishman. They then caused the sales prices for the properties – located in Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood, in other locations in New Jersey and in Naples, Florida – to be much higher than the buyout price to ensure large proceeds. Other defendants helped conceal the true sales prices of certain properties through inflated sales contracts and sale and finder’s fee agreements.

Ricks and Henson pleaded guilty to those charges in February 2013 and February 2014, respectively.

According to Fishman’s office, Fullenwider served as a “straw buyer” and purchased four North Wildwood properties at the inflated rates in late January and early February of 2007. Fullenwider used the alias “Stanley Hyde” and a false Social Security number to purchase the properties. In order to qualify for two mortgage loans, Fullenwider and his conspirators created false documents, such as fake W-2 forms, pay stubs, bank statements and investment statements, to make him (and other straw buyers) appear more creditworthy.

Fullenwider and his conspirators caused fraudulent mortgage loan applications in his

name, including the supporting documents, to be submitted to mortgage brokers that the brokers knew were false. Once the loans were approved and the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with real estate closings, Fullenwider received a portion of the proceeds from his conspirators after they had funds wired or checks deposited into various accounts they controlled. Fullenwider’s conspirators also distributed a portion of the proceeds to other members of the conspiracy for their respective roles.

The wire fraud conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20.

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