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January 5, 12

NEWS / Man Pleads Guilty in $3.4 Million Las Vegas Mortgage Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON – The secretary of Las Vegas-based CPT Real Estate Investments pleaded guilty yesterday for his role in a $3.4 million mortgage fraud scheme involving victims in the Las Vegas area, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bodgen for the District of Nevada.

Hugo Patrick Coutelin, 62, a resident of Santa Fe, N.M., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson in the District of Nevada to conspiring to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and bank fraud. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Coutelin is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18, 2012.

Coutelin was charged in an indictment on June 16, 2010, along with Michael Perry, 59, director of CPT; Jeff Thomas, 32, president of CPT; and Linda Marie Kot, 58, a real estate agent.

According to court documents, from April 2006 through November 2006, Coutelin and his co-defendants conspired to execute a fraudulent scheme in which they recruited and caused to be recruited straw buyers and bailout buyers, acted as straw buyers themselves and falsified mortgage loan applications with federally insured financial institutions. Coutelin caused false information to be included on straw buyers’ loan applications regarding the borrowers’ place of employment, income, assets and intent to occupy the properties so that straw buyers would qualify for loans for which they would not otherwise qualify. Coutelin knew that false information was included on straw buyers’ loan applications and also knew that material facts were concealed from the lender.

According to the indictment, Coutelin caused material misstatements to be made on loan applications for seven properties, leading to the disbursement of loans in the amount of approximately $3.4 million.

Coutelin was arrested on June 17, 2010, in New Mexico and was released pending trial.

On Dec. 28, 2011, Perry pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and bank fraud, and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 28, 2012. On Feb. 1, 2011, Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 22, 2012. Kot is scheduled to begin her trial on Feb. 6, 2012.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted.

This continuing investigation is being conducted by the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Fred Medick of the Fraud Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Matt Klecka of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.


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