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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Feb 9, 2021

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A New Jersey man was indicted Thursday for his alleged role in a foreclosure rescue scheme that was a part of a multi-million dollar mortgage loan fraud plan, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman in a release.

58-year-old Vito C. Grippo, the president of Morgan Financial Equity Shares and Vanick Holdings LLC, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to attempt wire fraud and three counts of filing false tax returns.

But Vito Grippo was not alone.

On Nov. 28, 2012, Grippo’s son and accomplice, 32-year-old Frederick “Freddie” Grippo of Old Bridge, N.J. plead guilty for his part of the $4.4 million mortgage loan scheme. Frederick Grippo was a former loan officer Worldwide Financial Resources and an officer of his father’s company, Vanick Holdings LLC.

The father-son duo allegedly sold the homes to investors and conspired to steal money from lenders by filling out fake mortgage loan applications in the investor’s names.

Between January 2008 and February 2010, Vito Grippo advertised Morgan Financial to the public as an assistance company for distressed homeowners. Morgan Financial offered an “Equity Share Program” which involved creating a limited liability company (LLC) in the name of the homeowner’s house. The homeowner would then supposedly own a 90 percent interest with the remaining 10 percent to be owned by one or two private investors.

Yet the private investors provided no investment and were straw buyers recruited by either Vito or Frederick Grippo.

The application forms filled out by the distressed mortgage loan applicants provided false information about the applicant’s monthly income, assets or whether the property would be the homeowner’s primary residence. The new loan application would be submitted to Worldwide Financial Resources, and quickly approved by employee Freddie Grippo. The mortgage loan money was wired to the settlement agency and Vito Grippo would direct the settlement agent to forward a part of the proceeds to Grippo-controlled banking accounts.

The father son duo was joined by another conspirator, 44-year-old, Colts Neck N.J. resident John Pereless. Pereless was allegedly involved in four out of the 12 fraud cases of which both Grippo members are charged.

The conspirators scammed property owners in the N.Y. metropolitan area including Rutherford, N.J., Monroe, N.J. and Brooklyn, N.Y.

“These defendants left financial disorder and devastation in their wake,” Stephen J. Taylor, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice said in a release. “In schemes like the one alleged here, everybody loses, except the criminal conspirators, who sneak away with the money. The members of our Financial and Computer Crimes Bureau are well versed in this type of fraud, and the case attorney and detectives skillfully uncovered this alleged conspiracy.”

In addition to the foreclosure scheme, Vito Grippo did not report his tax returns for the years of 2006 through 2008, accounting for a total of $1,869,302 in unreported revenue.

Both Vito and Frederick Grippo each face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000 for the mortgage loan conspiracy count. Vito Grippo faces an additional fine of $100,000 and nine years in prison for tax charges.

Lee Moore, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office in Trenton, N.J., told that “our office continues to investigate the case.”

Moore said John Pereless has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey told that they do not have any further information about John Pereless. Pereless could face a 10-year prison sentence which will run alongside a current eight-year sentence from another mortgage fraud conviction.