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Guilty pleas pose big trouble for Bergen Improvement Authority

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : The co-owner of a Ridgewood mortgage brokerage firm and a former residential mortgage employee both admitted their roles in a scheme that relied heavily on help from former Bergen County Improvement Authority chairman Ronald J. O’Malley.


Ronald O’Malley

Edward Olimpio, 47, of Boonton, New Jersey, and Rachell Fischbein, 28, of Hillsdale, both admitted in federal court in Newark that they schemed with an unnamed “co-conspirator” — clearly: O’Malley — and others to submit bogus loan applications and supporting documents that falsely claimed borrowers were employed by the BCIA.

Authority staffers were then directed to verify the borrowers’ employment when the banks and other mortgage lenders called, they said. What’s more, Olimpio and Fischbein said, they created bogus BCIA pay stubs and IRS W-2 forms, which were also submitted to lenders.

The BCIA, a quasi-governmental body that has the power to issue debt, became a rainmaker after O’Malley took control, with its bond activities shooting from $4.3 million just seven years ago to more than $50 million as of last year. O’Malley was also co-owner with Fischbein of Residential Mortgage Corp. in Ridgewood.

The authority’s lawyer, Dennis Oury, pleaded guilty last year to scheming with former Bergen Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero to secretly profit from a grants-writing company they created. Ferriero was later convicted at trial.

Three other co-conspirators besides O’Malley are cited in criminal complaints against Olimpio and Fischbein. The four currently aren’t facing charges.

Olimpio and Fischbein admitted that they, along with these other participants, lied on mortgage loan applications and other documents that certain borrowers were employed by and received salaries from the BCIA — when they, in fact, never worked there.

Olimpio and Fishbein said they and their co-conspirators also lied about borrowers having jobs at other places, and created bogus paperwork to cover the trail.

Both pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman credited the FBI and IRS for their work in a case that promises to reel in even bigger fish. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division, is handling the prosecution.

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