Attorney gets two-year sentence in Guzman mortgage fraud
Attorney and former mortgage broker Maurizio Lancia, who pleaded guilty to one count related to a long-running New London real estate fraud headed by Jose Guzman, was sentenced Tuesday in Hartford's U.S. District Court to 27 months in federal prison.
Judge Alfred V. Covello also set a two-year term for the 48-year-old Lancia's supervised release, and ordered him to pay approximately $160,000 in restitution. Lancia, a Trumbull attorney who owned Royal Financial Services in New London, had faced up to 33 months in prison and nearly $1 million in restitution costs.
Lancia pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in October.
Prosecutors say Lancia participated with admitted scam ringleader Guzman, a Waterford resident who still awaits sentencing, in more than a dozen fraudulent real estate transactions in New London over a three-year period.
"Lancia acted as a mortgage broker and closing agent in connection with the fraudulent real estate transactions," according to a summary of the case.
Prosecutors said Lancia preyed on people with good credit but modest means. These straw buyers were compensated for using their names and credit, while their loan applications included fraudulent information about income, assets, employment and whether they intended to occupy the home, according to a case summary.
Lancia earned nearly $100,000 in fees and commissions, prosecutors said, and the scheme led to the funding of more than 200 mortgages and $3.6 million in losses for lenders.
Sixteen people, including Lancia, Guzman, William Athan and Stacey Petro, have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme.