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Warren County man admits $3.7M mortgage fraud involving Wood-Ridge property

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Warren County man admitted today that he concealed a scheme with his wife that produced $3.7 million in falsely-obtained mortgage loans for two properties — one in Wood-Ridge and the other in the town where they live.

Zbigniew Cichy, 45, owned and operated Global Builders LLC, a construction company, while his wife, 48-year-old Ania Nowak was the owner and operator of A.N. Title Agency LLC, the government said. She also was an agent for Stewart Title Guaranty Company.

Nowak last week admitted fraudulently obtaining seven mortgage loans, including one for a Union Avenue property in Wood-Ridge that federal authorities said she “sold” to Cichy — but didn’t record it with the Bergen County clerk — and then another loan to refinance it.

The government also charged an Englewood mortgage broker, Kim Salvemini, 60, of Wallington, with participating in a similar scheme involving property in Belvidere.

The full government complaint describing how the scheme worked can be found here: USA v. Nowak, Cichy, Salvemini

“Nowak admitted that, for each of the seven loans, she lied on loan documents, failed to pay off prior mortgages at closing, failed to record the mortgages and any deeds and that most of the loans went into default for non-payment,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

Cichy, meanwhile, “admitted that although he was aware of the mortgage fraud scheme, including Nowak’s failure to pay off existing liens at closing, he failed to report the fraudulent mortgage transactions to authorities,” Fishman said.

“Instead, Cichy took steps to conceal the scheme by making mortgage payments on a number of the fraudulent loans out of his personal and business accounts to prevent foreclosure and thereby conceal from lenders that the loans had been obtained through fraud,” he said. “Cichy also admitted to lying on certain loan documents that were used in furtherance of the scheme.”

U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler set sentencing for both Cichy and Nowak — who pleaded guilty a week ago yesterday — for May 5.

Fishman credited the Newark office of the FBI with the investigation leading to the pleas.

Representing the government are Assistant U.S. Attorney Shirley U. Emehelu and Senior Litigation Counsel Leslie F. Schwartz of the Economic Crimes Unit of Fishman’s office.

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