A New Jersey man with links to the Philadelphia mob will spend four years in prison for his participation in a real estate scheme, where he would falsely claim to finance the payments for properties but would steal the down payments instead, as reported by federal prosecutors.
Stephen Sharkey, 51, of Swedesboro, took a guilty plea last September where he admitted his involvement in two fraudulent mortgage-closing schemes and one scheme towards a home seller, bringing him more than $385,000. Sharkey gave his victims a fake name in order to control the operation in secrecy.
According to prosecutors, Sharkey collaborated with Anthony Ambrosio, an associate, to persuade victims into giving the down payments for homes in advance of closings on properties. The two men would then steal the money and make excuses as to why the deal fell through, after falsely saying they were going to finance the purchase from the home buyer.
In the third scheme, Sharkey took all of the proceeds of a sale of a house by going to the closing phase without informing the home seller. Sharkey deposited all of the proceeds into his own bank account, prosecutors said. The victims in this particular case was the estate of the deceased parents.
One of the mortgage-closing schemes in 2019 Ambrosio targeted his own brother-in-law, who was defrauded of $208,000.
“He blatantly preyed on innocent victims here, destroying two families’ plans of buying homes and stealing a third person’s inherited property. A chunk of these fraudulent proceeds was diverted to a longtime Philadelphia mob figure, underscoring Sharkey’s continued association with organized crime. The FBI and our partners are going to keep investigating and locking up those committed to making money through illicit means,” said Michael J. Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.
Sharkey pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering. He received four years and one month in prison, three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $296,000 in restitution fees. He will also have to forfeit the same amount of money, according to part of the plea.
Ambrosio, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy charges previously, was sentenced to a 17 months in prison last November.
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