A Guyana-born man has been jailed for more than 20 years by a Florida court, for a series of multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud schemes in the United States.
According to reports from NBC 6 news and Miami AP, 56-year-old Ravindranauth “Ravi” Roopnarine was sentenced to 262 months in jail on three counts of fraud charges – wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.
In addition to the sentences which will run concurrently, the federal judge also ordered Roopnarine to pay more than $9 million in restitution to the defrauded banks and lenders.
Three other people have also been sent to prison in relation to the scheme.
According to publicly filed documents and statements made in court, on December 9, 2010, a Fort Pierce federal grand jury indicted Roopnarine, Gergawattie “Kamla” Seecharan, Bhaardwaj “Deo” Seecharan and Linda Rovetto for their participation in the multimillion-dollar Florida mortgage fraud scheme.
Gergawattie Seecharan, Bhaardwaj Seecharan and Rovetto had previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced. Roopnarine recently waived extradition and returned from Trinidad and Tobago to the Southern District of Florida.
Federal Prosecutors said in a news release on Monday that the scam involved approximately 150 residential properties in Indian River, Orange and Miami-Dade counties in Florida.
The group recruited mainly Guyanese residents of Florida and other states to act as straw buyers on fraudulent mortgage loan applications, leading to the issuance of more than $50 million in fraudulent loans.
According to the court documents, “Roopnarine, along with Kamla Seecharan and her husband Deo Seecharan, conspired to solicit mainly Guyanese residents of Florida and other states to act as straw buyers on fraudulent mortgage loan applications.
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 co-conspirators then used the proceeds to purchase additional properties, fund pre-existing fraudulent mortgage loans, and pay kickbacks to the straw buyers.”
Roopnarine was convicted by a jury of three fraud charges back in March.