Peter N. Price, a 49 year old title attorney from Hollywood, Florida, plead guilty to a criminal information charging him with making false statements to HUD. Price allegedly imbezzled over $1 million dollars in loan proceeds that had been sent to his title company’s escrow account. The name of that title company was Intracostal Title Services, Inc.
The case was presided over by the Honorable Jimmy I Cahn, of the U.S. Southern District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Sentencing is presently set for August 27, 2010.
When clients sent Price money to pay off prior mortgage loans, Price prepared and sent a false HUD1 Real Estate Settlement Form, falsely reflecting that the old loans had been paid.
This case was investigated by the Postal Inspector, the FBI, and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
When it comes time for sentencing, there are a number of factors that Judge Cahn is likely to consider. On the aggravating side, this case presents an instance of greed by a person who abused their position of trust. On the mitigating side, Price did enter a plea of guilty and has agreed to pay restitution. Assuming restitution is paid in full by the time he is sentenced, Judge Cahn will likely give him credit for that as well.
Regardless, there is no doubt that Mr. Price is facing a very precarious situation. Federal charges are serious business, especially when it comes to mortgage fraud in an economic environment predicated on the worst real estate bust in history.