Housing News

Bank of America employee accused of taking $1M in bribes to rig short sales

One Bank of America employee has been charged with a scheme that put over $1 million in his pocket.


Bank of America employee in hot water

Kevin Lauricella, 28 year old Bank of America employee in Simi Valley, California has pled not guilty to charges of taking over $1 million in bribes to rig short sales. According to the L.A. Times, Ariel Newman, assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles led the charge and a 28-count grand jury indictment, recently unsealed, listed 18 properties allegedly sold in late 2010, early 2011 at prices far below those that Bank of America would have approved.

Lauricella allegedly enabled the sales by improperly approving the short sales and falsifying bank records primarily in the San Fernando Valley, but also in Corona, Coto de Caza, Beverly Hills and Bel Air.

How the scam worked

“The buyers would either resell the homes at the actual property values or in some cases would refinance the property at the actual value, thereby extracting profits on the deals,” Newman said.

Bank of Amercia is not standing behind the employee, stating he was fired in 2011, and they have been cooperative with the FBI during the investigation. Lauricella’s Suburban has been seized on the grounds it had been purchased with criminal proceeds. Authorities state they are in the process of doing the same with his home.

Lauricella’s lawyer had no comment, citing not yet having reviewed all details of the case.

Three other defendants have entered plea agreements after a multi-year investigation into the manipulation of short sales for personal profit.

Bank of America has been in hot water for various reasons after the housing crash, but this situation stands apart, as it appears on all counts that it is a handful of individuals that acted against the bank for personal gain rather than a systematic problem.

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