New York, N.Y. (March 19, 2009) LEV L. DASSIN, Acting United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, JOSEPH M. DEMAREST JR., the
Assistant Director-in-Charge of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation’s New York Field Division ("FBI"), and BRIAN G.
PARR, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of
the United States Secret Service ("USSS"), announced today that
LAVETTE M. BILLS and KIRK LACEY surrendered this morning on a
criminal Complaint charging them with perpetrating a mortgage
fraud scheme involving loans totaling over $800,000.
According to the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan
federal court earlier today:
From at least 2007 through the date of their surrender,
BILLS and LACEY engaged in a scheme to defraud homeowners and a
number of financial lenders by submitting applications and
supporting documentation for mortgages that contained false and
misleading information, so as to induce those lenders to make
BILLS is a licensed real estate broker and the Chief
Executive Officer of MTC Real Estate, Inc., ("MTC") in the Bronx.
BILLS -- whose business card describes her as a "foreclosure
specialist" -- advertised on the radio that MTC could help
homeowners avoid foreclosure and invited listeners to call her
directly at MTC for a free consultation. BILLS also hosted a
radio program that aired three times per week on WBLS (107.5 FM)
and WLIB (1190 AM) in which she discussed issues related to
foreclosure and invited listeners to contact her for assistance.
LACEY, is a representative of NNI, LLC, a limited
liability corporation involved in real estate transactions with
which BILLS is also associated.
In one scheme, BILLS fraudulently induced a homeowner
and her grandson to add BILLS to the deed of their home based on
BILLS' promise that she would then be able to obtain a loan for
the homeowner that would allow the homeowner to pay off an
existing mortgage and make repairs. In fact, BILLS, after
obtaining a loan to purchase this home, re-sold the home to a
straw buyer who had obtained a loan based on a loan application
containing false information. LACEY assisted the straw buyer in
submitting this false loan application. Through this scheme,
BILLS and LACEY obtained approximately $150,000, both directly
and through entities they controlled, and the victims of this
scheme lost the equity in their home, which is now the subject of
In a second fraudulent transaction, BILLS and LACEY
used another straw buyer to obtain a loan in the amount of
$495,000 to buy a property in the Bronx that they had purchased
for $300,000 through an entity they controlled. The loan
application submitted on behalf of this straw buyer contained
numerous false statements, including false employment, income,
and residency information.
BILLS, 36, of Briarcliff Manor, New York, and LACEY,
36, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, are each charged with one count
of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum
sentence of thirty years in prison and a fine of the greater of
$1,000,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the
crime. BILLS and LACEY are expected to be presented later today
before United States Magistrate Judge THEODORE H. KATZ in
Manhattan federal court.
Assistant United States Attorney AMY LESTER is in
charge of the prosecution.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint
are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent
unless and until proven guilty.
SOURCE: United States Department of Justice -- Southern District of New York