Purported Real Estate Investor and Alleged Straw Buyer Charged in New Jersey with $13 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme


CAMDEN, NJ – March 25, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — Two alleged conspirators in a $13 million mortgage fraud scam that used phony documents and straw buyers to make illegal profits on overbuilt condos at the Jersey shore are charged in connection with the scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

New Jersey residents John Leadbeater, 54, of Kearny, and Daniel Cardillo, 49, of Wildwood, are each charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Leadbeater is also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Leadbeater surrendered to special agents of the FBI this morning and is expected to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio in Camden federal court. Cardillo, who was previously indicted in this case, is expected to appear in federal court on March 25, 2013, before U.S. District Chief Judge Jerome B. Simandle in Camden.

According to the superseding Indictment, unsealed today:

Leadbeater and his co-conspirators located for purchase ocean town condominiums overbuilt by financially distressed developers in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, and recruited straw buyers, including Cardillo, to purchase those properties. The straw buyers had good credit scores but lacked the financial resources to qualify for the mortgage loans. The conspirators created false documents such as fake employment records, W-2 forms, and investment statements to make the straw buyers appear more credit-worthy than they actually were in order to induce the lenders to make the loans.

To prepare the straw buyers’ false loan applications, Leadbeater and his conspirators caused fraudulent mortgage loan applications in the name of the straw buyers, including the supporting documents, to be submitted to mortgage brokers that the brokers knew were false, attributing to the straw buyers inflated income and assets. Once the loans were approved and the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with real estate closings on the properties, Leadbeater and his conspirators took a portion of the proceeds, having funds wired or checks deposited into various accounts they controlled. They also distributed a portion of the proceeds to the other members of the conspiracy for their respective roles.

Some previously charged co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme. Angela Celli, 42, of Somerset, Massachusetts; Robert Horton, 37, of Nashport, Ohio; and Justin Spradley, 35, of Cincinnati, pleaded guilty before Chief Judge Simandle and await sentencing.

The wire fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The money laundering conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez in Newark, and special agents from IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline M. Carle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

The charges and allegations contained in the superseding indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

District of New Jersey
(973) 645-2888


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