Federal Judge Sends North Andover Mortgage Company Principal to Prison

John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse. (Beyond My Ken, CC.)

The principal and co-founder of a North Andover mortgage short sale assistance company was sentenced this week in connection with defrauding mortgage lenders and investors out of nearly $500,000 in proceeds from about 90 short sale transactions.

Forty-year-old-Jaime Mulvihill was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya Zobel to six months in prison, two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $478,458 and forfeiture of $239,229. In November 2019, Mulvihill pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Mulvihill and Gabriel T. Tavarez, who has pleaded not guilty, founded and operated Loss Mitigation Services. Federal prosecutors say they schemed to steal undisclosed and improper fees from mortgage lenders in connection with short sales of homes. A short sale occurs where the mortgage debt on the home is greater than the sale price, and the mortgage lender agrees to take a loss on the transaction.

Loss Mitigation Services, purportedly acting on behalf of underwater homeowners, negotiated with mortgage lenders for approval of short sales in lieu of foreclosure. Mortgage lenders typically forbid short sale negotiators, such as Loss Mitigation Services, from receiving any money from a short sale.

From 2014 to 2017, Mulvihill and, allegedly, Tavarez, directly or through their employees, falsely claimed to homeowners, real estate agents and closing attorneys that mortgage lenders had agreed to pay Loss Mitigation Services fees known as “seller paid closing costs” or “seller concessions” from the proceeds of the short sales. In reality, the mortgage lenders had never approved Loss Mitigation Services to receive those fees. When the short sales closed, at the instruction of Mulvihill, or others working with her and Tavarez, settlement agents paid Loss Mitigation Services the fees, which typically were 3% of the short sale price above and beyond any fees to real estate agents, closing attorneys and others involved in the transaction. To deceive mortgage lenders about the true nature of the fees, Mulvihill or Tavarez filed, or caused others to file, false short sale transaction documents with mortgage lenders, including altered settlement statements and fabricated contracts and mortgage loan preapproval letters. Mulvihill and, allegedly, Tavarez, fabricated the transaction documents, or caused them to be fabricated, in order to justify the additional fees and conceal that they were being paid to Loss Mitigation Services.

They allegedly defrauded the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Tavarez has pleaded not guilty and is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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