Sunday, February 20, 2011

Former Jersey City Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements in a Mortgage Application

TRENTON, NJ—A former Jersey City, N.J., police officer admitted today to making false and fraudulent statements in an application to obtain a Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgage for the purchase of a Jersey City property, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Brian Ragauckas, 37, of Secaucus, N.J., pleaded guilty to an information charging him with making false and fraudulent statements within the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made during Ragauckas’ guilty plea proceeding:

In June 2000, Ragauckas purchased a home with his wife in Secaucus, N.J. In April 2007, Ragauckas and his wife obtained a $513,700 mortgage for the residence from Hudson City Savings Bank.

In September 2008, Ragauckas signed and submitted a Uniform Residential Loan Application, (URLA), to Countrywide Bank, FSB for the purpose of obtaining a $529,779 mortgage to could purchase a three-family home in Jersey City. Ragauckas falsely represented in the URLA that he rented the Secaucus residence, and had not owned any property in the last three years. He also failed to acknowledge the outstanding mortgage that he had with Hudson City Savings Bank when asked to list his outstanding liabilities. Additionally, Ragauckas signed an addendum in which he falsely represented that the information contained in the URLA was true to the best of his knowledge and belief. Ragauckas was serving as a Jersey City police officer at the time.

Ragauckas admitted that he made the false representations in order to secure the mortgage. By May 2009, the mortgage with Countrywide Bank, FSB, which merged with Bank of America in April 2009, was in default due to Ragauckas’ inability to make payments on the Jersey City property in addition to his Secaucus residence.

The charge to which Ragauckas pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for June 1, 2011.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie F. Schwarz of the United States Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Robert Galantucci, Esq., Hackensack, N.J.

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