Mortgage Broker Pleads Guilty
A Twin Cities mortgage broker pleaded guilty today at the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis as part of a plea agreement in an equity skimming case.
According to the Star Tribune, Michael Fiorito, 39, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, but avoided four additional charges including conspiracy.
The terms of the deal also give Fiorito a reduced prison term and a promise from the government not to charge his wife, Marion Glatzmaier, in exchange for cooperation in future investigations.
Other details of the agreement like damages and number of victims have yet to be worked out.
The Star Tribune reports Fiorito admitted to helping a woman refinance a home owned by her mother using documents with the mother's forged signature.
Fiorito collected between $12,000 and $13,000 from the refinancing, the Star Tribune reports.
According to the same article, Fiorito faced charges for taking more than $160,000 in equity from six homeowners in Mound, Duluth, Vadnais Heights and Shoreview.
Continuing investigations may turn up more victims and larger dollar figures.
Here is the article from Star Tribune's website: http://www.startribune.com/467/story/1459904.html
I managed to contact Dan Browning who wrote the Star Tribune story. Here are the main points of our phone conversation:
Dan talked a lot about the background of the case (mortgage brokers
pleading guilty) and some of the strategies he used for enterprising. He
talked about using court dockets which are public records that outline
everything that happens in a courtroom. He also pointed out that the quotes
he used in the story were not necessarily from an interview with the
sources, but what he heard them say while he was at the hearing. Dan
explained he was more comfortable using documents than face-to-face
sources, which I thought was interesting. He did say that getting US
attorneys to talk is difficult. When covering the courts, he recommends
reading widely, using journals like the IRE and National Law. Dan's only
been on the beat for 1 year , so it was nice to hear some of the challenges
he's been through.