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LI attorney faces 60 years in mortgage case

A Mineola attorney and a Queens loan officer could face decades-long prison terms after admitting to their roles in a $9-million mortgage fraud scheme, prosecutors said Thursday.

Lawyer Eric Finger, 47, submitted bogus information to mortgage lenders, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Finger pleaded guilty this week to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and he faces up to 60 years in prison, according to prosecutors.

An attorney for Finger did not return a call for comment Thursday afternoon.

Reginald Johnson, 38, a mortgage loan officer from St. Albans, Queens, ran Hempstead-based Reliable Capital Corp., a mortgage brokerage firm that handled the fake mortgage applications, and he also sold two properties of his own to "straw" buyers, according to prosecutors.

He faces a prison term of up to 70 years after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and two counts of wire fraud, prosecutors said.

Johnson's attorney, Thomas Nooter of Manhattan, said the mortgage lenders were "completely complicit" in the scheme. The lenders directed Johnson and his employees to use straw buyers and bogus "stated income" information for borrowers, Nooter said.

"What upsets me is that the government has prosecuted my client for being a mortgage broker but at least so far has not prosecuted the employees of the banks themselves," Nooter said.

A Mississippi woman who worked as a loan processor also pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. They will be sentenced in August.


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