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Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Mortgage Fraud Ring Unravels

MANHATTAN (CN) - The former president of GuyAmerican Funding Corp, a Queens mortgage broker, was sentenced Monday to 30 months in prison for mortgage fraud. David Ramnauth pleaded guilty in August to his role in the $23 million scheme involving 44 properties in the New York metro area.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin also ordered Ramnauth to forfeit $140,000 and pay restitution to be determined.

With Ramnauth's family in the courtroom, attorney Robert Koppelman asked for leniency, claiming Ramnauth did not know about the scheme.

Ramnauth pleaded guilty to "conscious avoidance," avoiding knowledge of his role in the conspiracy, Koppelman said.

But he did not convince the judge.

"I think he knew," Scheindlin said. She added that she was saying it just for the record because it mattered "not a whit" in determining his sentence.

Scheindlin agreed, however, that Ramnauth's role in the scheme was less than other participants.

Lead prosecutor Antonia Marie Apps, said Ramnauth was "no stranger to this type of fraud." Ramnauth obtained a fraudulent loan in his wife's name, Apps said.

Koppelman acknowledged his client's wrongdoing. But he said Ramnauth intended to pay the loan back, was current on payments and used the money to get a new house for his wife's mother.

Elton Lord, referred to throughout the sentencing hearing as a major participant, was sentenced in January to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution.

Before Ramnauth was sentenced, Koppelman told the judge it was "not fair" that his client's sentencing guidelines called for a tougher sentence than Lord.

Ramnauth's conduct "does not approach the level of venality" as Lord's, Koppelman said.

Ramnauth stood and pleaded for a lighter sentence. His voice shook as he apologized and said he would not be able to forgive himself.

"I ask for your mercy and your leniency, please," Ramnauth said.

Scheindlin said she imposed a non-guideline sentence that took into account Ramnauth's lesser role in the scheme, his and his wife's poor health and the unlikelihood of his ever committing fraud again.

Ramnauth surrendered his broker's and Realtor's licenses.

In addition to Ramnauth and Lord, one other participant has been sentenced and six await sentencing.

George Esso, who was convicted after a two-week trial in August 2010, was sentenced this month to a year and a day in prison and 3 years of supervised release.

Peggy Persaud, Killikelly, Taramatee Singh, Cheddi Goberdhan, and Rajnarine Singh previously have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentence.

Ravi Persaud was found guilty after a trial and is awaiting sentencing.

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