A Kiryas Joel, N.Y., man was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $1.2 million to federal authorities on Monday for his role in a mortgage-fraud operation in which prosecutors had charged 15 people in all, most from the same extended family.
Yehuda Rubin, a 32-year-old father of four, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements to lenders, admitting six instances in which he had overstated his income or given other false information on applications for mortgages and home-equity loans for properties in Brooklyn and Kiryas Joel.
The banks ultimately lost a total of $1.2 million after Rubin defaulted on the loans, as he acknowledged in his guilty plea.
The prison term Judge Kenneth Karas imposed in U.S. District Court in White Plains was considerably less than the 27-33 months Rubin faced under sentencing guidelines.
His lawyers had urged the judge to impose just one year in a halfway house, so that Rubin could continue working and supporting his family while he served his term.
They attributed Rubin's wrongdoing to immaturity, since he was 21 when he committed his first acts of mortgage fraud.
They also blamed the overheated real estate market of about 10 years ago, a time when mortgages came easy and lenders seemed indifferent to the truthfulness of applications and the borrowers' ability to repay loans.
"The conduct that Yehuda has admitted to during that time period — falsifying his income and other facts on his loan applications in order to purchase real estate — was so widespread in those years that it has been blamed as a major cause of the Great Recession of 2008," attorneys Susan Necheles and Kathleen Cassidy wrote.
In their own statement to the judge this month, prosecutors replied that Rubin had repeatedly lied about his income and employment, submitted forged documents and was "among the most savvy, and least financially naïve defendants to come through this courthouse."
"He lied so routinely and regularly, for years, that it was commonplace for him to do so," wrote Benjamin Alee and Kathryn Martin, the assistant U.S. attorneys. "Yehuda Rubin was a con man."
In a case that began with an investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Office, prosecutors charged 15 people from Brooklyn, Kiryas Joel and Rockland County in November 2014 with fraudulently obtaining more than $20 million in loans and committing welfare fraud in some instances.
Twelve suspects — including Yehuda Rubin's father, Irving — have pleaded guilty, mostly to conspiracy to make false statements to a lender.
Charges have been dismissed or will be dropped against the other three, including the wives of Yehuda and Irving Rubin.
Only one other defendant has been sentenced. Pinchus Glauber of Chestnut Ridge was ordered to serve two years on probation.
Tribune Content Agency