Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that defendants Gergawattie “Kamla” Seecharan, 49, and Bhardwaaj “Deo” Seecharan, 52, both of Orange County, were sentenced in federal court yesterday for their participation in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme.
Kamla Seecharan had previously pled guilty to conspiracy involving more than $50 million of mortgage loan funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341, 1343 and 1349. Deo Seecharan had pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud involving $3.5 million in diverted real estate escrow funds, in violation of Title 18, Untied States Code, Sections 1349 and 1344. At yesterday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez sentenced Kamla Seecharan to 121 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Judge Martinez also sentenced Deo Seecharan to 60 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. In addition, Deo Seecharan was ordered to pay $2,040,343.14 in restitution to the victim banks. The court scheduled a restitution hearing for December 18, 2012, in Fort Pierce, to determine the restitution to be paid to the victim mortgage lenders and banks by Kamla Seecharan.
According to statements made in court and publicly filed documents in the case, on December 9, 2010, the Seecharans and two others were indicted on bank fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and related mortgage fraud charges. According to the charges, the Seecharans, along with their two co-defendants, conspired to solicit mainly Guyanese residents of Florida and other states to act as straw buyers on fraudulent applications for more than $50 million worth of mortgage loans in connection with the purchase of more than 150 homes in Indian River County, Miami-Dade County, and elsewhere. Approximately 80 individuals served as straw buyers of properties in Vero Lake Estates (VLE), in Indian River County, and other developments. This scheme resulted in the issuance of more than $50 million in fraudulent mortgage loans. The proceeds were then used to buy more properties, sustain the deception and service preexisting mortgage loans in the scheme, and pay kickbacks to the straw buyers.
In addition, Kamla Seecharan and codefendant Linda Rovetto unlawfully diverted more than $3.5 million in mortgage loans from real estate closing escrow accounts to Raviworld New Homes, Inc., a company managed by Kamla Seecharan’s husband and codefendant Deo Seecharan. Linda Rovetto was sentenced on August 21, 2012, by Judge Martinez to 42 months in prison for her part in the bank fraud.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation, Bureau of Finance, West Palm Beach Regional Office for their work on this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.