Aug 28, 2014
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Manchester man who defrauded banks in mortgage foreclosure scheme gets 6 years
At times tearful, Michael Prieto told a federal judge that his wife had divorced him and moved away with their two children, his mother has mortgaged the family home to pay his legal bills, and he has nothing.
Last year, a jury convicted Prieto of mail fraud. His companies convinced homeowners facing foreclosure to sign over their deeds with the expectation they could stay in their house for reduced rent, get their finances in order and buy back the house.
“The market was very hot. Most of the lending institutions pretty much threw caution to the wind,” Iacopino said about the 2000s, when the scheme was at its height.
But Iacopino said the figure was much less. Using another calculation, Iacopino put the losses at $2.37 million. District Court Judge Steven McAuliffe based restitution on that number, and left it open for further revision.
“You knew what you were doing,” McAuliffe said. He said others were injured who won’t benefit from restitution. The straw buyers ended up with ruined credit. And homeowners lost an opportunity to reclaim their homes.
Prieto, who plans to appeal the verdict, will have to pay restitution at the rate of $200 a month once he is freed from prison. He was ordered to report to federal prison on April 5, but he could be granted his freedom while the case is on appeal.
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