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The five defendants formed several corporations and listed 116-55 Queens Blvd., Suite 206, in Forest Hills, as the corporations’ principle place of business.
By Forum Staff
Five men, including two Queens residents, have been indicted for their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.
An indictment was unsealed Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court charging Michael Konstantinovskiy, 33, of Rego Park; Avraham Tarshish, 40, who lives in Queens Village; Tomer Dafna, 48; Iskyo Aronov, 32; and Michael Herskowitz, 40, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and related wire fraud counts, in connection with a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders, including the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, and borrowers. Konstantinovskiy, Dafna, Tarshish, and Herskowitz were arrested Tuesday morning in New York; Aronov was arrested in Florida.
According to the indictment, the defendants formed several corporations and listed 116-55 Queens Blvd., Suite 206, in Forest Hills, as the corporations’ principle place of business. Between December 2012 and January 2019, the defendants conspired to defraud mortgage lenders, misleading them into approving short sale transactions at fraudulently depressed prices. In a short sale, with the approval of the mortgage lender or servicer, a mortgage loan borrower sells his or her property for less than the outstanding balance of the mortgage loan. The proceeds from the short sale, less approved closing costs, are applied to the outstanding mortgage loan balance owed to the lender, who typically agrees to forgive the borrower’s remaining mortgage loan balance. Here, the defendants fraudulently manipulated the short sale process by transferring properties for prices well above the short sale prices, and failing to disclose this to the mortgage lenders and servicers. The defendants also took steps to preclude other prospective purchasers from making higher offers for properties by failing to market properties as required by the lenders, and by filing fraudulent liens on properties.
As a further part of the scheme, the defendants provided the mortgage lenders and servicers with false and misleading information in transaction documents and failed to disclose either payments made to the borrower and others related to short sale or contemporaneous agreements to transfer the properties at inflated prices. Many of the affected mortgage loans were insured by the Federal Housing Administration, or owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.