Criminal Justice News

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Littleton Man Indicted for Obstruction, Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Money Laundering


DENVER—Peter Vincent Capra, age 55, of Littleton, Colorado, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on May 23, 2012 on additional charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and United States Postal Inspection Service announced. Capra is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court on May 29, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. to respond to the charges. Capra was charged in a previous indictment with obstruction of justice.

According to the information contained in the Indictment, Capra was the president of Golden Design Group Inc. (GDG), which built and sold houses in the Denver metropolitan area. Capra was also the registered agent for Distinctive Mortgages LLC, which used GDG office space and provided mortgages for some of the purchasers of GDG houses.

As part of the fraud, Capra caused the creation of Cambridge Real Estate Consulting LLC (Cambridge) and Chateau Real Estate Investments LLC (Chateau). Although publicly filed paperwork suggested that these were independent entities, Capra or his associate, a person with the initials R.P., directed all activities of Cambridge and Chateau and controlled their bank accounts.

Between January 1, 2005 and July 31, 2008, Capra executed and attempted to execute a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders through the use of applications for residential mortgage loans and related documents associated with real estate purchases in the Denver Metro area. As part of the scheme, Capra would structure transactions involving homes built and sold by GDG to allow buyers to receive substantial amounts of the lenders’ money at the time of closing without the lenders’ knowledge.

Capra was able to facilitate his scheme by causing first and second mortgage applications related to the real estate purchases be submitted with false and fraudulent representations about the purchasers income, liabilities, and intent to occupy the properties as their primary residences. Many of the purchasers bought multiple properties at or near the same time in an attempt to prevent lenders from discovering the extent of the buyer’s real estate liabilities.

At the closing or soon thereafter, Capra would cause funds to be distributed to the buyers in ways that prevented the lenders from knowing the funds were actually going to the buyers. The methods included the disbursement of funds to LLCs, causing buyers to sign false warranty waivers, making payments to the buyers through Cambridge, Chateau, or other sham entities, and having GDG issue checks directly to the buyers, which were not reflected on the HUD-1 closing statements. The disbursements to buyers were usually in amounts between $85,000 and $130,000.

The indictment also includes an asset forfeiture allegation, which states that upon conviction of the offenses mentioned in the indictment, the defendant shall forfeit to the United States all property involved in or traceable to property involved in such offense(s), including but not limited to a money judgment.

“Investigating and prosecuting mortgage fraud is one of the highest priorities of this U.S. Attorney’s Office as well as the Department of Justice as a whole,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “We are taking action at all levels of mortgage fraud, from those committing the fraud all the way to those who packaged and profited from the fraud.”

“This indictment sends a strong message that the FBI will aggressively pursue those individuals who illegally defraud mortgage lenders for their own personal gain,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone. “The FBI will continue to investigate real estate and mortgage industry professionals who have ignored their fiduciary responsibilities and commit fraud.”

“The charges filed in this case illustrate the commitment of postal inspectors to vigorously pursue individuals who utilize the U.S. mail as part of these complex fraud schemes,” said Adam Behnen, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Denver Division. “With today’s challenging economy, it is critical we make every effort to protect our financial institutions and consumers by ensuring the integrity of the U.S. mail. We are very appreciative of the working relationship between our agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, as it was instrumental in bringing this case forward.”

“Mortgage fraud, like many financial crimes, adds to the underground economy, erodes the integrity of our tax system, and threatens the financial health of our communities. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to ‘following the money trail’ to ensure that those who engage in these illegal activities are vigorously investigated and brought to justice”, said Sean P. Sowards, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office.

Capra faces one count of obstruction of justice, 14 counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and 10 counts of money laundering. If convicted, the defendant faces 10 years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine for obstruction of justice; not more than 20 years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine for each count of wire fraud and mail fraud; and not more than 10 years’ imprisonment and up to a $500,000 fine for each count of money laundering.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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