3 Long Islanders Charged in $3M Mortgage Fraud Scam

Three Long Islanders were among six suspects indicted on federal charges of allegedly stealing $2.7 million from lenders in a mortgage fraud scheme involving 17 properties in Hempstead and New York City, authorities said.

Alex Barrett of Farmingville, Barthelemy Adjavehoude of Baldwin and Samuel Terrell Bell of North Babylon were each charged Wednesday at Brooklyn federal court with bank and wire fraud conspiracy.

“Through a web of lies and false documentation, these real estate professionals allegedly stole millions from banks, which they used to line their own pockets,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Prosecutors said that the group conspired to submit fraudulently inflated purchase prices of residential properties on mortgage loan applications to lenders. They also allegedly submitted false information about the assets and income of co-conspiring so-called straw buyers who helped make the scheme look legit with false down payment checks and other falsified paperwork.

Barrett, a 47-year-old mortgage broker, is accused of conspiring with property managers Bell, 33, and Adjavehoude, 54. Three more suspects from Queens, 42-year-old foreclosure specialist James Bayfield, 47-year-old title agent Michelle Baker and 32-year-old property manager Dirk Hall, were also charged in the alleged scheme.

Two additional co-defendants, 42-year-old attorney George Alderdice of Manhasset and 39-year-old real estate appraiser Sharif Rashed of Queens, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank and wire fraud for their respective participation in the scheme.

Authorities said the suspects covered up the scheme by “flipping” the properties—re-selling them—the same day, but dating the paperwork to make it appear as though the second sales occurred more than 60 days later. When the straw buyers failed to make their mortgage payments, the loans went into default.

The arrests followed a joint investigation between the inspectors general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the FBI. The suspects face up to 30 years in prison, if convicted.