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Jong Shin found guilty in $1.2M Atlantic City mortgage scheme

dollar101011_optBY ALICIA CRUZ

Following two hours of deliberation Thursday, a Camden federal jury returned four guilty verdicts against a New York woman accused of orchestrating a mortgage fraud scheme in Atlantic City that involved seven properties purchased and re-sold 17 times over a six-month period of time.

Jong Shin was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and making false statements on loan applications to J.P. Morgan Chase Bank (Counts 3 and four). Shins trial, which lasted two weeks, was presided over by U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb.

According to a media release, Shin defrauded mortgage lending institutions by purchasing seven residential properties in Atlantic City and then recruiting “straw purchasers” to buy the same properties from her. The Bronx woman prepared fraudulent contracts to sell the properties to the straw purchasers and then included significantly inflated incomes as high as $29,000 per month on the loan applications, said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

The 51-year-old woman received approximately $1.2 million in proceeds, which she laundered through several monetary transactions into her bank accounts. With help from a crooked appraiser, Michael Oxley, whom Shin paid large cash payouts to, she was able to inflate the appraisals, then recruited and paid a local title clerk, Anna Shea of Equity Title Agency.

A Summit Mortgage Bankers broker, Esther Zhu, conspired with Shin to falsify the numbers on the applications and appraisals so that they would be accepted at the lending institutions. Seventeen separate real estate transactions later, the straw purchasers owned the seven properties – with overblown market values – and mortgages they could not pay. Eventually, the bank foreclosed on the properties.

Shin faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the wire fraud; 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the money laundering, conspiracy charge; and 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on both of the false statements charges.

Six of Shin's co-conspirators also charged in the mortgage scheme have pleaded guilty to related federal charges and are currently awaiting sentencing. They have been identified as:

Anna Shea, 45, of Millville pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Michael Oxley, 42, of Somers Point pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Tula and Sudesh Rampersaud, ages 33, of Hollis, N.Y.; EACH PLEADED GUILTY TO: conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Steven Boswell, 61, of Flushing, N.Y. pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Esther Zhu, 43, of Farmingdale, N.Y. pleaded guilty to two counts of making a false statement to a bank on a loan application.

The Atlantic City Resident Office of the FBI (Michael B. Ward), and the Atlantic City Resident Office of IRS-Criminal Investigation (Victor W. Lessoff) led the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diana Vondra Carrig and R. David Walk Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden represented the government. Totowa attorney’s Kenneth Rossellini and Brian Kernan defended shin.

Fishman did not announce a date for Shin's sentencing.

Comments (1)
1 Thursday, 22 December 2011 23:25
Ruth Lee
December 14, 2011

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Ruth Lee. I am the wife of the pastor of the Gospel Mission Church of NY. I am also a friend of Jong Shin whom I've known through my work as a nurse. She was an excellent nurse and attended our church when her son was in the hospital.

When Jong Shin's son was six and half years old, he suffered a fall due to a disease and lapsed into a coma. I was with the mother in the hospital every time she came to take care of her son. We also prayed a lot together. Usually this disease lasts 4 or 5 years and then the patient dies but he survived until 19 years of age. She took care of him during the entire time. The costs for his medical care were very expensive. She paid for everything by herself and she had to work hard all the time as a result of bearing the costs. As a person, I've known her to be a very generous and kind person who loved to help others, especially those in unfortunate circumstances. She was sucked into the mortgage scam perpetrated by the unscrupulous brokers and realtors that she was involved with.

I am writing this letter on behalf of my friend Jong Shin to appeal her case and plead for leniency. She is not a criminal but a victim of very unfortunate and difficult circumstances. Furthermore, she was not properly represented by her lawyers, who were largely incompetent and only took her money. Please take her background story into full consideration in deliberating on this case and show mercy on a person who has already suffered enormously.

Very Sincerely,

Ruth Lee

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