Indictment Details Charges in Conspiracy to Defraud Financially Distressed Homeowners, Financial Institutions
PROVIDENCE (STL.News) A Johnston-based real estate investment firm, the company’s founder, and a person who held himself out to be a negotiator on behalf of financially distressed homeowners but who was, in reality, associated with the real estate investment firm, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges they participated in a series of schemes to defraud homeowners and financial institutions.
It is alleged in the indictment that members of the conspiracy, Gregory F. Alosio, 60, of Johnston, his real estate investment company, Alosio Group, LLC, which also did business as Quietstorm Professional Services, and John DiFruscio, Jr., 68, of North Providence, who is associated with Quietstorm Professional Services, conspired to fraudulently obtain properties from financially distressed homeowners; fraudulently obtained fees, commissions, and other income associated with the rental, use and short sale of homeowners’ properties; fraudulently purchased properties in short sales and illegally “flipped” them for significant personal gain; and defrauded several financial institutions.
It is alleged in the indictment that as part of the conspiracy, co-conspirators held themselves out as negotiators who, for a fee, could assist in keeping properties from being foreclosed upon. Among the fraudulent actions allegedly employed by the co-conspirators:
Many financially distressed homeowners were convinced to move out of their residences to allow the co-conspirators to rent out the properties in a fraudulent “rent-to-own” program. Some homeowners remained in their properties and paid rent to the co-conspirators as part of the defendants’ “rent-to-own” program. It is alleged that the co-conspirators used the rental income for their own benefit.
DiFruscio, while purportedly working on behalf of the victim homeowners, negotiated short sales of properties on behalf of the Alosio Group, the prospective short sale purchaser, at the lowest possible price to benefit the Alosio Group and Gregory Alosio himself, thereby causing financial institutions to incur a greater loss. Little or no marketing of the properties occurred. The co-conspirators allegedly arranged to have the properties listed for sale on Multiple Listing Service (MLS), then had the listing immediately reflect “sale pending.”
After purchasing the properties, the co-conspirators arranged to sell, or “flip,” the properties to another purchaser at substantially higher prices.
The co-conspirators filed false affidavits and documents that represented that 1) no commercial relationship existed between the parties to induce lenders to approve short sales; 2) there was no agreement to “flip” or rent the targeted properties after the short sale; and 3) falsely reflect the identity of the seller, the identity of the buyer, and cash to the parties at closing.
Some homeowners were convinced to transfer title of their homes to John DiFruscio as a trustee of a family trust.
An indictment unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Providence charges Gregory Alosio, Alosio Group, LLC, and John DiFruscio, Jr., with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus, Christina D. Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta.
A federal indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Hebert and Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus.