Attorneys accused in mortgage scam face new charges
Two attorneys who are already charged with taking part in a mortgage fraud scam with a former Suffolk legislator and a dominatrix have been charged with two more cases of mortgage fraud.
Brandon Lisi, 35, of Dix Hills, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead to two counts of second-degree grand larceny and one count of forgery. Dustin Dente, 38, of Roslyn, will be arraigned on the grand larceny charges Thursday. They face a maximum of 21/3 to 7 years if convicted on those charges.
Former Legis. George Guldi, of Westhampton Beach, was not charged in these cases, but he is expected to be arraigned Thursday on charges of evading income taxes, said Assistant District Attorney Michael McCoy, who is prosecuting the cases with Thalia Stavrides.
Guldi's attorney, Paul Gianelli of Hauppauge, declined to comment on the tax evasion charge.
In the latest indictment, McCoy said that in 2007 Lisi and Dente purchased two houses in foreclosure - one on Shelby Court in Northport, one on Arista Court in Dix Hills - using a straw buyer. Instead of paying off the banks, however, McCoy said the defendants kept the money and the homes stayed in foreclosure, essentially stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Indy Mac Federal Bank and Countrywide Home Loans, which has since been taken over by Bank of America.
McCoy said Lisi submitted a forged document that indicated a significantly higher purchase price than the real one, helping the scam move forward.
Lisi's attorney, Randy Zelin of Westbury, said his client was involved in a complicated real estate deal that "doesn't necessarily rise to the level of criminality." Zelin said the purchases were legitimate real estate deals.
Dente's attorney, John Carman of Garden City, did not return calls for comment Wednesday.
Judge James F.X. Doyle said he normally would increase bail in such a case, but he noted that Lisi voluntarily surrendered on the new charges, so he allowed Lisi to remain free on his existing bail of a $25,000 bond.
Guldi, professional dominatrix Carrie Coakley, and her husband, Donald MacPherson, publisher of the SoHo Journal magazine, were at the center of a wide-ranging mortgage fraud scheme that operated from Cold Spring Harbor to Bridgehampton, Suffolk prosecutors have said.
In that case 17 defendants are accused of taking part in what Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota has called the largest mortgage fraud ring uncovered in the county, involving the sale of 60 homes and a total theft of more than $80 million.
Guldi served as a lawyer in many of the transactions, prosecutors said. MacPherson and Coakley recruited straw buyers, including clients and employees at The Dungeon in Manhattan, where Coakley was head dominatrix, according to prosecutors.