September 17, 2014

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Federal indictment centers on pricey houses in townships

Two men face federal mortgage fraud charges involving five luxury homes in Montville and Medina townships.

Joseph J. Beccia, 60, of Parma, and Alex F. Blackmore, 49, of New York City, were charged earlier this month with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud in a mortgage scheme, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

According to the indictment, five luxury homes went into foreclosure as a result of Beccia and Blackmore’s scheme, resulting in $3.3 million losses to banks that provided mortgage money for the homes.

Beccia’s company, Horizon Construction, built the five houses between the spring of 2006 and the summer of 2007, just as the U.S. housing crisis began, according to court records.

The Medina Township homes — 2940 and 3006 Sutton Lane and 4740 Lake Forest Trail — and the Montville Township homes — 4281 Fox Glen Drive and 4320 Perian Court — were placed on sale at their true market values, ranging from $395,000 to $925,000.

But Beccia was unable to sell the properties and was falling deeper into debt, according to the indictment.

A statement released by the U.S. Attorney states that Beccia was approached by a real estate agent, identified in the indictment only as “T.F.,” who said that Joseph Jones, who had previously been convicted in another mortgage fraud scheme, had a “system” that would allow Beccia to sell the homes if he agreed to take the five homes off the market temporarily and re-list them at significantly inflated prices, ranging from $647,000 to $1.4 million.

According to the indictment, Blackmore agreed to act as purchaser of the properties as a “straw buyer” using falsified documents.

The indictment also charges that Jones enlisted the services of Marilyn Mannarino, who previously had been convicted in another mortgage fraud scheme, to help falsify the documents.

It’s unclear whether the others named in the indictment face charges.

U.S. attorney’s spokesman Mike Tobin could not be reached for comment.

The case was investigated by the Cleveland offices of the FBI and the Secret Service.

The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Bennett.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.