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Arrest in $5 million Paragon mortgage scam

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

CLIFFVIEW PILOT HAS IT FIRST: Detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office have cracked a $5 million swindle with the arrest of a Bloomfield man who they said schemed with a loan officer and mortgage brokers to defraud Paragon Federal Credit Union in Montvale, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

Joseph Curcio

Joseph Curcio is accused of submitting bogus information to qualify for 13 real estate loans for 11 multi-family houses in Bergen and Essex counties, with the help of a loan coordinator at Paragon, two Union City mortgage brokers and the owner of a Jersey Shore appraisal company.

“These fraudulent leases combined with inflated property appraisals and a fraudulent Paragon Federal Credit Union membership application were all used to aid Curcio in meeting the loan criteria and ultimately being approved for a real estate loan,” Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.

Two years ago, Curcio registered CNS ENTERPRISES LLC with the state. His sole purpose, Molinelli said, was for “supplying fictitious invoices to be added to the seller side of the settlement statements,” showing a debt to the company – even though he was the buyer. He then collected at closing.

Curcio used the ill-gotten gains “for down payments on the next purchase,” the prosecutor said.

The properties all eventually defaulted, and Paragon investigators began a review. Soon after, Molinelli’s office got their call.

Curcio was released without bail pending a hearing on charges of theft by deception, forgery and conspiracy.

Charges will be brought separately against Cuccio’s alleged accomplices:  Paragon loan officer Dawn Woolbert; Osvaldo Riveron and Falvio Cardoza, who work for AOR Consultants in Union City; and Peter Lamicella, the owner of  Lighthouse Appraisers in Toms River.




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