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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
May 18, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 

Union County Man Pleads Guilty to Multi-Million $$ Mortgage and Insurance Fraud

Defendant Faces Up to 33 Years in State Prison and $110,000 Fine.....

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that a Union County man has pleaded guilty to numerous counts of theft and related charges stemming from several insurance and mortgage fraud schemes, including a scam designed to rip-off a mortgage company involved in the purchase of a multi-million dollar residential property located in Bergen County.

According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Paul LoPapa, 58, Summit Road, Mountainside, Union County, pleaded guilty before Bergen County Superior Court Judge William C. Meehan to charges contained in a State Grand Jury indictment. The indictment charged LoPapa with theft by deception (3rd degree), falsifying records, and forgery (4th degree). At the hearing, LoPapa also pleaded guilty to a separate criminal Accusation charging him with four counts of theft by deception and one count of attempted theft by deception (3rd degree). When sentenced on June 17, LoPapa faces up to 33 years in state prison and a fine of up to $110,000.

In pleading guilty to the charges in the State Grand Jury indictment, LoPapa admitted that between Nov. 1, 1995 and Feb. 1, 1996, he purchased residential real estate (mansion and guest home) located at 73 and 77 East Saddle River Road in Saddle River, Bergen County. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that LoPapa funded the purchase of the Bergen County property through Castle Rock Real Estate - a real estate partnership controlled by LoPapa. The purchase was accomplished by creating a fictitious person - Joseph Georges - and representing that Georges was willing to buy the real estate from LoPapa for $4.9 million. The investigation determined that LoPapa created worthless promissory notes and other financial documents to lure a mortgage lender to back the purchase. Using the worthless promissory note and $1 million in purported cash, LoPapa induced a mortgage lender to advance $3.35 million to finance and acquire the Saddle River property. The mortgage lender in turn, sold the worthless note to an Arkansas mortgage broker. The investigation further revealed that, immediately after the bogus Georges transaction, LoPapa transferred the property to his company, Castle Rock Real Estate, Inc.

LoPapa further admitted that between April, 1996 and January, 1997, he falsely inflated a homeowner’s insurance claim in the amount of $33,400 for artwork that was purportedly damaged by a leaky roof at the East Saddle River Road property. LoPapa submitted the inflated claim to the Great Northern Insurance Company. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that the artwork never existed.

When pleading guilty to the criminal Accusation, LoPapa admitted that between April and August, 2000, that he stole more than $29,200 in loan application fees from two victims. LoPapa represented that he was a real estate investor and mortgage broker employed by the Citadel Group of Companies. LoPapa induced persons looking for real estate loans to pay mortgage application fees, which he (LoPapa) then stole.

State Investigator Joseph Luccarelli and Deputy Attorney General Nicole D. Rizzolo of the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor were assigned to the investigation. Det. Sgt. Brian Giannini of the New Jersey State Police assisted in the investigation.

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