Miami developer indicted for bank fraud

Developer Mordechai Boaziz, a Miami resident, was indicted on charges of federal bank fraud involving a condo conversion project in Temple Terrace.

During the recession, the Business Journal reported on banks filing foreclosure lawsuits against Boaziz relating to multiple commercial properties, with some of those lawsuits resulting in judgments and foreclosure auctions.

A federal grand jury in the Middle District of Florida's Tampa Division indicted Boaziz in April on charges of conspiracy against the U.S. government and making a false statement on a loan application. He was arrested in South Florida on April 10 and released on $500,000 bond. He has yet to enter a plea.

“This case involves activities which took place over a decade ago,” said Tampa attorney John M. Fitzgibbons, who represents Boaziz. "Mr. Boaziz strongly disputes the allegations contained in the indictment, and intends to vigorously assert his innocence at trial. We believe that, after a jury hears all the facts, they will agree that Mr. Boaziz has done nothing wrong.”

The indictment also charged Jonathan Marmol, a mortgage broker, with making false statements on loan applications and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Marmol entered a plea of not guilty.

Tampa attorney Nicholas G. Matassini, who represents Marmol, said his client has maintained his innocence from the beginning, and is determined to hold the government to its heavy burden of proof at trial.

"The government’s case relies, in substantial part, on biased witnesses who lack credibility and have an interest in the outcome of this prosecution – because they’ve already pleaded guilty to fraud and are actively seeking a reduction in their sentence from both the prosecutors and the judge,” Matassini said.

In 2006, Boaziz used several companies to purchase the Preserve at Temple Terrace, a 392-unit apartment complex that he intended to convert to condos, according to the indictment. A year later, he refinanced the property with a loan from New York Community Bank.

The indictment says Marmol was hired to market the condo at the Preserve.

Boaziz used various bank accounts to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars of his money during condo closings, so lenders thought the funds were down payments from the buyers, according to the indictment. In fact, these were developer incentives, and the condo buyers didn’t have nearly as much equity in their properties as it appeared, prosecutors alleged.

“The conspirators would and did strategically deposit funds into buyers’ bank accounts to mislead mortgage lenders into believing the buyers had funds to close and make subsequent mortgage payments, and constituted a low risk of defaulting on the mortgage loans,” the federal indictment states.

By doing this, they made false statements to the banks that financed more than $15 million in buyer purchases, according to the indictment. Boaziz also signed false HUD-1 Settlement Statements because they misrepresented the source of the buyer cash used to close, according to prosecutors.


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