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Greeley, Pike County Man Sentenced to Prison for Mortgage Fraud Scheme


August 26, 2011

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced that the former owner of a financial services firm, Alex Gambini, was sentenced today by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Edwin M. Kosik to spend more than four years in prison for participating in a scheme to fraudulently inflate mortgages during 1999-2002.

According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Gambini, age 44, of Greeley, Pennsylvania, the former owner of First Advantage Financial Services, was sentenced to 51 months in prison. Gambini previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud as an aider and abettor.

Gambini was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2008, as a result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Indictment outlined a scheme whereby operators and employees of First Advantage Financial, which was based in Lake Ariel and later Hamlin, and had an office in Old Forge, used false appraisals and false documents, including false W-2 forms, false real estate appraisals, and false employment records, to qualify customers for inflated mortgages and loans.

Some of those customers subsequently defaulted on the mortgages and loans resulting in losses to banks and other financial institutions. The amount of money involved in the fraudulent scheme was between $1 million and $2.5 million, and involved between 10 and 50 victims.

Gambini is the first of four defendants connected to the scheme to be sentenced in federal court. Guillermo Laureiro, Richard Woods and Benjamin Haughney previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud for their participation in the illegal scheme. All are awaiting sentencing.

Judge Kosik also ordered Gambini to serve three years on supervised release following his prison sentence, and to pay a $100 special assessment. The Court deferred ruling on restitution in the matter for 90 days. In his plea agreement, Gambini agreed to pay restitution for losses resulting from his conduct.

U.S. Attorney Smith noted that Assistant United States Attorney Francis P. Sempa prosecuted the case.