A Park Ridge con man already facing state prison time admitted in federal court on Wednesday that he and his son defrauded mortgage lenders out of more than $300,000, using most of the money to buy high-end luxury vehicles.
George Bussanich Sr., 60, cut a deal with the government through which he pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy and tax evasion in exchange for consideration at his Sept. 25 sentencing in U.S. District Court in Newark.
His son George Bussanich Jr., 39, of Upper Saddle River, is scheduled to be sentenced the same day for his October 2017 guilty plea to tax evasion.
For three years, beginning in 2009, both men “conspired to defraud mortgage lenders through the sham short sales of two properties located on Jefferson Avenue in Emerson and Lillian Street in Park Ridge,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Bussanich Sr. “controlled various purported medical clinics and surgical centers in New Jersey,” Carpenito said. “He recruited his business partner and an employee from a sleep clinic in Cliffside Park to pose as legitimate, unrelated buyers of the properties.
“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.”
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,” the U.S. attorney said.
About two years after the sales, Bussanich Sr. “bought the properties back from the straw purchasers using money that he owed his business partner from an earlier venture,” he said.
The elder Bussanich bought himself two Land Rover SUVs and a Ferrari Spyder, among other purchases, the government charged.
Bussanich Sr. admitted during Wednesday’s plea that he didn’t include the additional income on his federal income tax returns.
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI and IRS – Criminal Investigation, for the investigation leading to the guilty plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari B. Fontecchio of his Economic Crimes Unit in Newark, and Nicholas P. Grippo, the attorney in charge of the U.S. attorney’s Trenton office.
The Bussaniches are also dealing with state authorities.
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