A former Newark police officer was found guilty today of defrauding an Elmwood Park bank to obtain a $1.9 million commercial loan, the US Attorney’s Office announced.
A jury in Camden federal court delivered the verdict against Victor Patela, 36, of Newark, who was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, two counts of loan application fraud and bank bribery, authorities said in a statement.
Patela conspired to defraud Spencer Savings Bank by providing false statements and documents in order to secure a loan for his company, JVI Realty and, on Aug. 30, 2004, paid a $10,000 bribe to a loan officer involved with the JVI Realty loan.
Approximately two weeks later, Patela applied for a commercial real estate loan from Spencer Savings Bank to purchase apartment buildings located in Elizabeth. In order to obtain the loan, Patela signed a financial statement falsely reporting that he had a net worth that included $430,000 in bank accounts and real estate valued at $3.5 million. Patela signed the document underneath the Representations and Warranties section, agreeing the information was correct, although he knew he did not have the money, the US Attorney said.
In connection with complying with Spencer Savings Bank's condition that Patela demonstrate proof that he had $480,000 to make a down payment on the properties in Elizabeth, Patela submitted a fake real estate contract to the bank.
The agreement JVI entered into with Spencer Savings prohibited Patela from encumbering or mortgaging the Elizabeth apartment buildings without the bank's written consent. However, JVI, through Patela, subsequently secured a second mortgage on the Elizabeth apartment buildings, signing the second mortgage and mortgage note as a corporate officer of JVI. The $300,000 loan was used as part of the $480,000 equity contribution to purchase the Elizabeth apartment buildings. The same day, Patela, through JVI, paid the bank employee a $20,000 bribe and over the next year paid the bank employee more than $10,000 in separate payments.
Each of the five counts for which Patela was found carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
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