Yiddish-speaking Nigerian national jumps bail after being charged in massive mortgage fraud scheme
BY JOHN MARZULLI • DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Now that's chutzpah.
A Yiddish-speaking Nigerian national has jumped bail after being charged in a massive mortgage fraud scheme.
Real estate broker John Star went on the lam last month, a week after prosecutors in Brooklyn offered to let him plead guilty in exchange for 15 years in jail. Now the feds are likely to offer nothing - or, as Star might say, bupkis.
A bench warrant has been issued. Star was free on a $200,000 bond secured with a home in Mount Vernon, Westchester County. He surrendered his Nigerian passport when he was arrested April 6 and is believed to be in the U.S.
"Rather than us having to expend valuable resources looking for him, Mr. Star should be a mensch and turn himself in," said FBI spokesman James Margolin.
Star, 39, learned Yiddish while growing up in Switzerland with Orthodox Jewish adoptive parents. He moved easily in Orthodox real estate sources and hatched a scheme that bilked lenders of $10 million, officials said.
He and his accomplices submitted false loan applications that said properties were being purchased by credit-worthy buyers, authorities charged. Shortly after pocketing the loans, the defendants stopped making payments on the mortgages.Star's lawyer, Anthony Mamo, declined to comment yesterday.
Anyone with information about Star is asked to call a confidential tip line: (212) 384-5000.
[Hat Tip: WoolSilkCotton.]