A father and son from New Jersey are charged today in an alleged scheme in which the father promised to rescue homeowners who were facing foreclosure, but instead sold their homes to unwitting investors and conspired with the son to steal $4.5 million from lenders by filing fraudulent mortgage applications in the investors’ names. The announcement comes from State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa.

From left to right: Vito Grippo, Frederick Grippo, John Pereless (Photos: NJ Office of Attorney General)

Vito Grippo and his son, Frederick Grippo are each charged with second-degree offenses of conspiracy and theft by deception.

Vito is also charged with second-degree offenses of money laundering and theft by failure to make required disposition of property received. Each of the second-degree charges carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.

We allege that Vito Grippo preyed on homeowners who were facing foreclosure, cheating 12 victims out of their homes and stealing $1.3 million in equity they had built up,” says Chiesa.  “He allegedly solicited investors and bought the homes in their names without their knowledge, so that he and his son could fraudulently obtain $4.5 million in loans and divert the proceeds. The end results were lost homes for former homeowners, ruined credit for investors, and major losses for lenders.

Stephen Taylor, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice explains, “These defendants left financial disorder and devastation in their wake. In schemes like the one alleged here, everybody loses, except the criminal conspirators, who sneak away with the money. The members of our Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau are well versed in this type of fraud, and the case attorney and detectives skillfully uncovered this alleged conspiracy.”