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Pleads to bank fraud

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A Lyndhurst woman faces 30 years in prison after admitting to her role in what federal prosecutors described as a large-scale mortgage fraud scheme that caused at least $2 million in losses.

Klary (a/k/a/ “Patty”) Arcentales, 45, pleaded guilty last week in Federal Court, Newark, to an indictment charging her with four counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

According to the documents filed in the case and statements made in court, from about 2007 until 2012, Arcentales engaged in the conspiracy through a Woodbridge- based company called Premier Mortgage Services, where she was employed as a loan officer.

Authorities said she provided false and fraudulent documents to financial institutions in connection with mortgage applications on behalf of “straw buyers,” individuals recruited by co-conspirators and known to have no means of paying the mortgages and no intention of residing at the properties in question.

The conspirators used false bank statements and other documents “to make it appear as though the straw buyers possessed far more assets, and earned far more income, than they actually did,” the indictment read.

“Relying upon those false documents, financial institutions funded mortgage loans.”

Arcentales then profited illegally by receiving a commission from Premier for each mortgage loan that she closed and by diverting portions of the mortgage proceeds to herself.

Properties cited in the indictment were located in Irvington and Union.

Two other conspirators, Lester Soto, 57, of Freehold, and Linda Cohen, 56, of Orange, previously pleaded guilty in connection with their roles in the fraud scheme, Fishman’s office said. They have not yet been sentenced.

Arcentales entered her guilty plea Feb. 4 before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 19. Arcentales faces the potential 30-year prison term and a fine of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by her offense.

–Karen Zautyk

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