Former loan officer sentenced for mortgage fraud

WOODBRIDGE — A township resident and former loan officer received a three-year prison sentence for his alleged role in a $2 million mortgage fraud scheme, authorities said.

Delio Coutinho, 73, of the Colonia section of Woodbridge, was sentenced in Newark federal court on Aug. 11, after previously pleading guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. Wigenton imposed the 36-month sentence, and ordered Coutinho to serve three years of supervised release along with his prison term. He must also pay more than $1.3 million in restitution.

According to authorities, Coutinho worked as a loan officer for a North Jersey mortgage broker and conspired with others to release liens on encumbered properties through fraudulent short-sale transactions.

Through these activities, which took place from March 2008 through June 2012, Coutinho and his cohorts were able to profit from the fraudulent mortgages obtained on the properties via other lenders, authorities said.

To complete the short sale transactions, Coutinho and others allegedly submitted materially false documents to mortgage lenders. They also submitted fraudulent mortgage loan applications to obtain new loans on multiple properties in Elizabeth, authorities said. In all, Coutinho and others obtained approximately $2 million in illegal mortgage proceeds, according to Fishman.