April 17, 2014

Medina
Partly sunny
36°F

More charged with housing fraud

CLEVELAND — Five more people have been charged in what federal authorities say was a $4.1 million mortgage fraud scheme involving five luxury homes in Medina County and one in the Cleveland suburb of Gates Mills in Cuyahoga County.

The seven-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury charges one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and five counts of bank fraud, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

The new charges were filed against Thomas G. France, 43, of Strongsville; Katen S. Pabley, also known as Keith Pabley, 40, of Shaker Heights; Su Chi Straka, 37, of Parma; Lisa R. Nagle, 42, of Houston; and, Ranjeet Pabley, 67, of Lombard, Ill.

The five are accused of bilking mortgage lenders by listing a Gates Mills property on the market at a price greater than its worth and sending it into foreclosure, causing $807,000 in losses to the lenders.

Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for Ohio’s northern district, said the property, 1924 Epping Road, was flipped in a similar manner to five properties in Medina County.

Joseph Beccia, 60, of Parma, and Alex Blackmore, 49, of New York City, were charged in connection with the Medina County properties.

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

Five of the homes — three in Medina Township and two in Montville Township — went into foreclosure after being sold for inflated prices to an accomplice acting as a “straw buyer” using falsified documents, according to the U.S. attorney. The scheme resulted in $3.3 million losses to banks that provided mortgage money for the homes.

The U.S. attorney said both schemes were instigated by Joseph Jones, who has mortgage fraud convictions on his record.

Jones has not been charged, and U.S. attorney’s spokesman Mike Tobin declined to say whether charges were pending against Jones or anyone else.

“We won’t comment on that unless there’s a formal charge,” Tobin said.

If convicted, Tobin said those charged could face up to 30 years in federal prison.

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