WHITE PLAINS, NY — September 25, 2012 —
Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced
that Loronda Murphy (DOB 07/13/64) of 4 Heather Lane, Greenwich, Connecticut, pled
guilty today to:
- one count of Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First
Degree, a class “B” Felony,
- one count of Residential Mortgage Fraud in the
Second Degree, a class “C” Felony,
In addition, Scott Forcino (DOB 04/12/66) of 400
Wilmot Road, New Rochelle, New York pled guilty to:
- one count of Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth
Degree, a class “A” Misdemeanor.
From April 2009 to June 2009, operating under the
home mortgage closing company Settle One Corporation, with an office located at
428 Main Street in Armonk, New York, the defendants, Loronda Murphy and real
estate attorney Scott Forcino, engaged in what amounted to a home mortgage
fraud "Ponzi" scheme.
The targeted homeowner/victims each took out a new
mortgage on their home through Settle One Corporation with the understanding
that real estate attorney Scott Forcino would oversee their closing and that
money from their new mortgage would pay off their pre-existing mortgage.
However, Forcino instead allowed Murphy to
fraudulently assume the role of attorney for each closing, and, much to the
homeowner's surprise, rather than paying off their pre-existing mortgage,
Murphy instead stole portions of their new loan money and left their
pre-existing mortgage unpaid.
Murphy's theft then left the homeowner with the
unsustainable burden of having multiple mortgages on their family home at one
Over this time period the pair defrauded five
victims including Murphy’s father.
In addition to skimming money out of the Settle One
Corporation bank account for her own personal benefit, Murphy also attempted to
conceal her crimes by using money left in the Settle One bank account to make
monthly mortgage payments on various unpaid mortgages and, in some cases,
Murphy even stole one homeowner's new mortgage loan money and used it to pay
off another homeowner's previously unpaid mortgage.
In the three months, beginning in April of 2009 and
ending in June of 2009, Murphy orchestrated the preparation and submission of a
series of false mortgage documents in connection with five mortgage loan
closings that resulted in her, through the Settle One bank account, receiving
over one million dollars from two home mortgage lenders: Wells Fargo Bank and
Live Well Financial.
In turn, Murphy then stole over fifty thousand
dollars in loan money from each of five Westchester County homeowners,
including her own elderly father, all for her own personal financial gain and
to cover up her continuing criminal activity.
In September 2010, search warrants were executed
leading to an eleven month investigation by the District Attorney’s office with
the assistance of the Town of North Castle Police Department.
“This type of criminal activity is what contributed
to the collapse of the nation’s residential housing market thereby prolonging the
“Great Recession” from which many Americans are still recovering. These
defendants, one a former Town political leader and the other an Officer of the
Court, built a corrupt enterprise abusing the lending process and defrauding numerous
victims,” said District Attorney Janet DiFiore after the defendants pled guilty.
Sentencing will be on January 8th, 2013.
Murphy faces a maximum of twenty five years in
As a condition of her plea, Murphy will have to pay
$720,288 in restitution. The amount paid before sentencing will determine the
length of her prison term.
Forcino faces a maximum of one year jail.
As a condition of his plea, Forcino will resign
from the New York State Bar.
Assistant District Attorney Brian Fitzgerald of the
Economic Crimes Bureau – Mortgage Fraud Unit – prosecuted the case.