A Belleville man was among three persons, including his sister, sentenced last week for their roles in a $15 million mortgage fraud scam that used phony documents and “straw buyers” to make illegal profits on overbuilt condos, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Appearing June 2 before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle in Federal Court in Camden, Dwayne Onque, 47, of Belleville, was sentenced to 63 months in prison. His sister Mashon Onque, 44, of East Orange, received a 30-month term. The third defendant, Nancy Wolf-Fels, 58, of Toms River, is to serve 42 months.
All three had been convicted in October after a month-long trial. Each was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. In addition, Dwayne Onque was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to Fishman’s office, the defendants and their conspirators schemed to defraud financial institutions by locating oceanfront condominiums, overbuilt by financially distressed developers, and negotiating a buyout price with the sellers. They then caused the sales prices for the properties –in Wildwood Crest, North Wildwood, other locations in New Jersey and in Naples, Fla. – to be much higher than the buyout price.
From late 2006 through mid-2007, Dwayne Onque served as a “straw buyer” of five properties in Middletown and Wildwood, signing fraudulent loan applications and closing documents that resulted in the release of more than $2 million of mortgage funds.
During 2006 and 2008, Mashon Onque acted as the closing agent for fraudulent mortgage loans orchestrated by her conspirators, including her brother.
From 2007 through mid- 2008, Wolf-Fels, a loan officer, assembled six loan applications for unqualified buyers that contained false and fraudulent financial information.
In addition to the prison terms, Simandle sentenced each defendant to three years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a hearing July 9.
– Karen Zautyk