By Forum Staff
A Jamaica man has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison for his role in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme, federal prosecutors announced on Friday.
James Bayfield, 46, a self-described mortgage specialist, was convicted in January 2017 of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Bayfield’s 21-month prison term will be followed by three years of supervised release; he was also ordered to pay $184,651 in forfeiture.
According to federal officials, between September 2008 and May 2011, Bayfield and his co-conspirators caused mortgage loan applications with false information to be submitted to lending institutions, including Amtrust, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, in connection with the purchase of residential properties located in Queens and Brooklyn. These applications contained fraudulently inflated purchase prices and false information about the assets and income of the purported purchasers, many of whom were paid to act as straw purchasers. Bayfield and his co-conspirators also provided false down-payment checks to make it appear as if the straw purchasers and other borrowers had made down payments on the properties.
To complete their scheme, prosecutors said, Bayfield and his cohorts conducted simultaneous and secretive purchases and sales of the properties, sometimes called “flips,” at inflated prices. Ultimately, the lending institutions issued millions of dollars of mortgage loans secured by properties with inflated appraisal values, and many of these loans were placed into default status.
“Bayfield has portrayed himself as a mortgage specialist, but now stands exposed as a convicted thief who used his knowledge of real estate transactions to carry out his fraudulent schemes against lending institutions,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.
By Forum Staff