A Sarasota, Fla., lawyer pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Tampa to charges that could result in a sentence of eight to 10 years for his role in an almost $83 million loan fraud scheme from which he reportedly received about $7.6 million.
According to the plea agreement, John Yanchek, now 49, while serving as the closing attorney, “made false statements regarding the financial resources of the borrower, the equity contributed by the borrower, compliance with the seller’s obligation to provide marketable title to the property, and distribution of the loan proceeds,” writes the Tampa Tribune.
Yanchek pleaded guilty to conspiracy, money laundering and making false statements to a bank in connection with a commercial loan. The latter charge is the most serious, and could result in a sentence of as much as 30 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines, according to the Tampa newspaper. However, prosecutors are recommending that he get eight to 10 years, reports the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
As a convicted felon, he will automatically lose his license to practice law in Florida, the Sarasota newspaper notes.
Yanchek and three other men are accused of working together between 2004 and 2006 to defraud seven banks of $82.7 million in commercial loan proceeds, according to the two newspapers. Their alleged scheme involved no-money-down purchases of vacant land in the Sarasota area in which the defendants received cash back from the loan proceeds.
One of Yanchek’s co-defendants, Manatee County home builder Michael Tringali, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing; he faces up to five years in prison, the Sarasota paper says. Another, businessman Larry Nardelli, is awaiting trial and a third, investor Neal Mohammad Husani, is considered a fugitive.
“The criminal investigation was launched after the Herald-Tribune ran a series of articles in 2006 and 2007 describing Husani’s deals and the fact that he appeared to overstate the value of several purchases in documents used to get $83 million in loans from area banks,” the Sarasota paper writes. “The investigation by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service closely followed the trail that those stories created.”
Under the alleged scheme, Husani bought some 1,900 acres of land for $42.5 million, quickly selling it to Tringali for $117 million. These transactions made it possible for Tringali to get loans for about twice the actual value of the property, reports the Herald-Tribune, supported by falsified documents that Yanchek admitted in his plea agreement that he prepared.
“To influence the lending decisions of the banks, Yanchek acted in his legal capacity as the closing attorney to make false statements regarding the financial resources of the borrower, the amount and source of equity contributed by the borrower, compliance with the seller’s obligation to provide marketable title to the property and distribution of the loan proceeds,” reports the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
Yanchek, a 20-year practitioner, is a graduate of Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law, the Herald-Tribune notes.
Robin K. Jensen Sarasota Fl is John Yanchek, Your friend?