More than 30 homeowners on Long Island, in New York City and in Westchester lost more than $700,000 in a mortgage scheme run by a Dix Hills man, the Nassau district attorney office said Thursday.
Mark Savransky, 56, who was charged with numerous felony counts, spent the homeowners' mortgage payments on travel, restaurants, a car, child support, credit card payments and other items.
The defendant, known as Mark Savran to the homeowners who trusted him to negotiate lower mortgage payments for them, was arraigned on 30 counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud after surrendering, the district attorney's office said.
"This defendant preyed on vulnerable homeowners who had subprime mortgages and some of the victims nearly lost their homes," acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement.
His typical clients took out subprime adjustable-rate mortgages from 2006 to 2009.
When the payments rose to levels they could not afford, they turned to Savransky.
From 2008 to 2013, "The victims made honest attempts to renegotiate their mortgages, yet the defendant lied to them and stole more than $728,000 to line his pockets," Singas said.
The defendant's attorney, Lowell Davis of Carle Place, said by email: "We deny any criminal wrongdoing related to loan modifications. Any misunderstanding will be resolved through the Courts."
Nassau District Court Judge James Darcy set bail at a $250,000 bond or $125,000 cash; Savransky also was asked to hand in his passport.
Should Savransky be convicted of the top charge, his maximum sentence would be 71/2 to 15 years in prison, the district attorney's office said.
Savransky, whose mortgage modification business was based in Nassau, promised homeowners that after he persuaded lenders to lower their mortgage payments, he would hold their money in trust before forwarding payments to the companies that serviced the loans, the district attorney's office said.
By serving as an intermediary, Savransky said he could create a record to ensure lenders could not deny they were receiving mortgage payments or that he had negotiated lower payments.
Some of the lenders began foreclosing on homes, and when Savransky's clients complained to him, some received "a limited" repayment, the district attorney's office said.
People victimized by the defendant lived in 22 localities: Amityville, Baldwin, Bayside, Brentwood, the Bronx, Brooklyn, East Northport, Farmingdale, Hempstead, Hicksville, Huntington, Levittown, Lynbrook, Malverne, Merrick, Mount Vernon, New Hyde Park, Queens Village, Richmond Hill, Riverhead, Uniondale and Westbury.
The Bronx County district attorney's office was the first to refer cases to their Nassau counterparts. Then the Suffolk district attorney's office followed suit, along with its county police department.
A Nassau police investigation also led to Savransky facing grand larceny charges involving the theft of mortgage payments from another homeowner, the district attorney's office said.