San Diego Business Journal

Man Pleads Guilty to Two Counts in Connection to Mortgage Fraud Case

Friday, September 23, 2011

John J. Borzellino, also known as John Ross, a real estate consultant, pleaded guilty to two counts in a federal courtroom Sept. 22 in San Diego in connection with a multimillion dollar mortgage fraud conspiracy case, federal prosecutors said.

According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, Borzellino, 53, a self-proclaimed real estate consultant with business ventures throughout the nation, fraudulently induced lenders to fund millions of dollars in mortgages to buy houses in Florida, Georgia and California from 2006 to 2007. The scheme entailed buying the homes at prices above the sellers’ asking prices, with the understanding that the money paid above the asking price, which he characterized as “commissions or consulting fees,” would be funneled to an entity that Borzellino controlled, prosecutors said.

Borzellino admitted that to get the loans he made numerous false and misleading statements about the properties being his primary residence; the borrowers’ income and employment history; past residence history; and false documents to justify the commissions, prosecutors said.

He also admitted assuming a number of false identities to conceal his role in the transactions and his receipt of the funneled loan proceeds, federal officials said.

Using such deceptions, Borzellino defrauded lenders into making more than $7.5 million in mortgage loans to purchase houses in the name of his wife, Sharon Ross, and several other straw purchasers, prosecutors said.

In addition to the fraud charge, Borzellino also pleaded guilty to tax evasion for not declaring nearly $1 million in income, which he obtained through his scheme, prosecutors said.

Borzellino, who is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 9, faces maximum penalties of 25 years in prison and $350,000 in fines.

— Mike Allen