Merrick man convicted of mortgage fraud

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A Suffolk County jury in Riverhead convicted a Merrick man of mortgage fraud and other crimes Tuesday, finding the prosecution adequately proved he had swindled lenders out of half a million dollars, officials said Tuesday.

Rufino "Abraham" Cordova, 41, was found guilty of second-degree larceny, second-degree residential mortgage fraud and scheme to defraud, said Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota's office.

Jurors deliberated for one day at the end of the monthlong trial before State Supreme Court Justice Mark Cohen, who had Cordova held on $250,000 cash bail or $500,000 bond.

Prosecutors said that Cordova had stolen the money while transacting business related to the sale of homes in Hempstead and Central Islip in 2008 and 2009. The lenders and victims of Cordova's crimes were Bank of America and National City Mortgage.

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"In this scheme, the investigation by our Mortgage Fraud Unit detectives found evidence that Cordova created companies on paper to buy property and then sell the home to a straw buyer -- who has secured financing with bogus financial credentials and an overstated annual income," Spota said in a news release announcing the conviction.

He added that Cordova faces similar charges in other Suffolk cases.

Cordova's attorney could not be reached for comment.

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