Rancho Mirage man charged with defrauding bank of more than $5 million


A Rancho Mirage man who operated a mortgage lending company was charged today with allegedly scheming to defraud an out-of-state bank, causing the bank to lose more than $5 million.

Steven Pitchersky, 64, was charged by federal prosecutors with one count of wire fraud, and the case is being handled in Philadelphia. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Pitchersky, who operated Nationwide Mortgage Concepts in California, is accused of engaging in a scheme to defraud Detroit-based Ally Bank that caused the bank $5.3 million, according to federal prosecutors.

According to the complaint, Nationwide Mortgage Concepts was licensed in more than 40 states to originate and refinance mortgages, and was authorized to originate Federal Housing Administration and veterans' mortgages. In August 2009, Ally's suburban Philadelphia office oversaw Ally's agreement to give Nationwide a line of credit. From August 2009 to January 2011, Nationwide refinanced mortgages using Ally's line of credit, including mortgages held by institutions such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, according to the complaint.

In November 2008, Pitchersky formed a title company called Hanover Settlement, Inc. in Hanover, Pa., west of Philadelphia. He told Ally he didn't have any affiliated title companies or closing agents, according to the complaint.

``Unbeknownst to Ally, defendant Steven Pitchersky covertly instructed Hanover to forward to (Nationwide Mortgage Concepts) all money it received from Ally to pay off First Mortgage Banks during the refinancing process,'' the complaint stated. ``This subterfuge allowed defendant Pitchersky complete control over money NMC acquired from Ally's warehouse line (of credit). Defendant Pitchersky used Ally's money for purposes other than for what it loaned for.''

According to the complaint, in January 2011 Nationwide didn't pay off a Michigan homeowner's mortgage with Bank of America, instead using the more than $230,000 from Ally ``for other purposes.'' Pitchersky later made a monthly payment of around $1,700 on the man's Bank of America loan, according to the complaint.

``At this point (the alleged victim) believed his loan with Bank of America had been paid off by NMC,'' the document stated.

``Pitchersky devised this scheme so that he could use Ally money to originate more mortgages than the mortgages Ally had agreed to fund, and thus earn more fees for himself and NMC,'' the complaint alleged.

From December 2010 to January 2011, Ally advanced Nationwide about $5.3 million to pay off 23 first mortgages for Nationwide clients. Nationwide ``failed to use these funds to pay off these mortgages and instead used the money to pay off first mortgages for other customers,'' according to the complaint.

Pitchersky and Nationwide didn't pay back the $5.3 million, the document stated.

Pitchersky hasn't been arrested and doesn't have a court date yet, according to Patricia Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia.

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