A Park Ridge man was sentenced Thursday to 27 months in federal prison and his Upper Saddle River son to home confinement for eight months for defrauding mortgage lenders out of more than $300,000.
George Bussanich Sr., 60, and George Bussanich Jr., 39, used most of the money to buy high-end luxury vehicles, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Both men previously admitted in U.S. District Court in Newark that they used sham short sales of two properties -- one on Jefferson Avenue in Emerson, the other on Lillian Street in Park Ridge – to swindle mortgage lenders between 2009 and 2012.
The elder Bussanich controlled various purported medical clinics and surgical centers in New Jersey, Carpenito said.
Bussanich Sr. recruited his business partner and an employee from a sleep clinic in Cliffside Park “to pose as legitimate, unrelated buyers of the properties,” the U.S. attorney said.
“In order to conceal his involvement, Bussanich Sr. used a business entity he controlled to fund each short sale transaction and the subsequent repurchase of those properties,” Carpenito said.
Bussanich Jr., the owner of record of both properties, “negotiated the short sales with the lenders using materially false information that misrepresented the circumstances of the short sales, the relationships of the parties, and the source of funding for the transactions,” he added.
Roughly two years later, Bussanich Sr. bought back the properties from the straw purchasers “using money that he owed his business partner from an earlier venture,” Carpenito said.
Both men also didn’t report the income from the purported medical clinics and surgical centers on their tax returns, the U.S. attorney said.
They used the money on hot cars and to buy bank checks to fund the bogus short sales.
In addition to their sentences -- both for tax evasion and the elder Bussanich for bank fraud conspiracy, as well -- U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi five years of federally supervised release for Bussanich senior and three years for his son, under the terms of their plea bargains.
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI and the IRS with the investigation leading to the pleas, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari B. Fontecchio of his Economic Crimes Unit and Nicholas P. Grippo, Attorney in Charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Trenton Office.
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