A former Bank of America mortgage employee has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for pocketing $1.2 million in payoffs to approve the sale of distressed properties for far less than their actual value.
Kevin Lauricella, 29, who has been cooperating with investigators, pled guilty to accepting bribes and falsifying bank records. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II in Los Angeles this week and was ordered to repay Bank of America $5.7 million in losses and to forfeit a Thousand Oaks home acquired through payouts from the criminal scheme.
Lauricella worked for a Bank of America division that handled delinquent home loans in 2010 and early 2011. During this time, lenders were overwhelmed by defaults on underwater mortgages, creating opportunities for insiders to exploit flaws in bank systems.
The crimes involved short sales. Lauricella collected bribes from so-called “flippers” who bought homes with the intent of quickly reselling them, Katzenstein admitted. He then issued approvals for short sales that were beyond his authority to approve, with sales prices far below the fair market value.
Lauricella made false entries in Bank of America’s computer system to make it appear that higher-ups had approved the short sales, Katzenstein said. When he pleaded guilty, Lauricella admitted approving fraudulent short sales for at least nine properties.
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