Six Indicted in $2 Million Loan Fraud Involving Stolen Property Deeds in New York

July 11, 2023

Six individuals and a corporation were indicted for defrauding distressed homeowners by stealing the property deeds to Westchester, N.Y., homes and fraudulently obtaining $2 million in loans.

The defendants—including licensed Realtors and an attorney—were also charged with evading a combined total of nearly $200,000 in state taxes.

 “Deed theft schemes exploit the most vulnerable and can have lasting housing and financial impacts to families,” said Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah. “My office will seek to hold the defendants accountable for allegedly stealing titles to victims’ homes while pretending to help them.”

As alleged in the indictments, the defendants targeted three residential properties facing bankruptcy or foreclosure—two in New Rochelle and one in Yonkers valued in total at nearly $2.5 million. Owners for two of the properties believed they were receiving mortgage assistance when they signed over to the defendants the deeds to their homes at a closing.

The third property, which was in bankruptcy proceedings, was acquired in a short sale and two of the defendants allegedly moved in and occupied that home as their primary residence. The defendants were charged with forging financial statements and filing false tax documents to obtain $1.5 million in short-term “fix and flip” loans for the properties before defaulting on those mortgages, and also securing a $500,000 COVID relief small business loan. The homeowners who were expecting a refinanced mortgage faced eviction or were pushed out of their home.

The district attorney identified the defendants as licensed real estate broker Marcia Campbell and her husband, a licensed real estate salesperson, Fred Campbell; licensed attorney Anthony Chilliest; Gerald Smith; Wayne Green; Frank Palmer; and Campal Corp.

Marcia and Fred Campbell, Chilliest, Smith and Green were arrested and arraigned on June 21 and Palmer was arrested and arraigned on June 29. A Westchester County Grand Jury charged the defendants across multiple indictments that include:

  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree
  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree
  • Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree
  • Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree
  • Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree
  • Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree
  • Repeated Failure to File a Corporate Tax Return

Bail was set for Marcia and Frank Campbell, Chilliest, Smith and Palmer. 

The case is before Judge George Fufidio in Westchester County Court. The Economic Crimes Bureau and criminal investigators of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office initiated an investigation more than two years ago after a victim filed a complaint with the DA’s Office. The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance assisted with the investigation.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].