Loronda Murphy, ex-North Castle GOP chief, gets up to 13 1/2 years in prison in mortgage scam
The former chairwoman of the North Castle Republican Party on Tuesday was sentenced to 4 1/2 to 13 1/2 years in prison in connection with a $720,000 mortgage Ponzi scheme, the Westchester County district attorney's office said Tuesday.
Loronda Murphy, 48, of Greenwich, Conn., had pleaded guilty in September to one count of first-degree residential mortgage fraud and one count of second-degree residential mortgage fraud, both felonies.
Murphy worked with real estate attorney Scott Forcino at an Armonk office of mortgage-closing company Settle One Corp. to bilk five clients -- including her father, Paul Cartularo, 73, of West Harrison -- from April to June of 2009, prosecutors said.
"These defendants, one a former town political leader and the other a real estate attorney, built a corrupt enterprise abusing the lending process and defrauding numerous victims, including the defendant's own father," District Attorney Janet DiFiore said in a statement after Murphy was sentenced.
The victims took out new mortgages on their homes with the understanding that Forcino would manage the closings and that funds from their new mortgages would pay off their pre-existing mortgages, according to officials.
In the scheme, Murphy, who is not a lawyer, would take on the attorney's role at closings. She would skim part of the new mortgage loan money and leave pre-existing mortgages unpaid, meaning the homeowners would have to pay two mortgages, prosecutors said.
Murphy, who filed false mortgage documents, tried to cover her tracks by using money in the Settle One bank account to make payments on some unpaid mortgages, authorities said.
More than $50,000 in loan money was diverted from each of five Westchester County homeowners.
In addition to the sentence, Murphy agreed to an order of restitution, requiring her to repay $720,288 to her victims, according to DiFiore's office.
Murphy's lawyer, Paul Pickelle, did not immediately respond to a call for comment.
In January, Forcino, 46, of New Rochelle, was sentenced to five years' probation on his September 2012 guilty plea to one count of fourth-degree criminal facilitation, a misdemeanor. As part of the deal, he resigned from the New York State Bar.