Former newspaper publisher Marco Laureti, who also worked as a real estate agent and mortgage broker, has been charged with taking part in a $10 million mortgage fraud conspiracy in Florida, reports HousingWire staffer Ben Lane.

Laureti owns Laureti Publishing Company but is also a licensed real estate agent and a mortgage broker. According to court documents, he and Michelle Cabrera, who owned Florida Elite Title & Escrow, along with Felix Mostelac, and Pedro Melian, participated in a scheme involving a condominium complex in Fort Lauderdale.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Laureti, Mostelac and Melian made false and fraudulent statements to a financial institution on loan applications and closing statements for the multimillion dollar condominiums.

Once the unnamed financial institution approved the loans, Cabrera, who served as the title agent on the relevant transactions, allegedly diverted the loan proceeds to fund the cash the borrower was expected to bring to the property’s closing, as well as diverting additional money to various companies owned by Laureti and Mostelac, all at Laureti’s direction.

Additionally, court documents state that Laureti and Mostelac used a similar scheme on the loan applications and closing statements to purchase their own multimillion dollar residential properties in Miami Beach.

All told, the scheme defrauded the financial institution of approximately $10 million.

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