YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli today confirmed CLIFFVIEW PILOT ‘s exclusive report from last week that an Upper Saddle River mortgage broker has been charged with pocketing interest payments that were supposed to have gone to a lender.
Steven A. Meneve (MUGSHOT: Bergen Prosecutor)
Prosecutor’s detectives and Saddle Brook police arrested Steven A. Meneve, the former director of business development at Garden State Mortgage in Wyckoff, at his Oratam Road home the morning of May 30.
He immediately posted $100,000 bail and was freed pending court action on charges of theft by deception, failing to properly dispose funds and forgery.
Meneve’s business includes finding lenders who can provide loans to borrowers who ordinarily don’t qualify for financing or need money fast.
Although relatively high, the rates he obtains — ordinarily around 15 percent — aren’t considered usurious, a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the case told CLIFFVIEW PILOT today.
CLIFFVIEW PILOT EXCLUSIVE (June 1, 2012): An Upper Saddle River mortgage broker is free on $100,000 bail, charged with pocketing interest payments that were supposed to have go ne to a lender.
In the case that led to the charges, Meneve “provided the perspective lender with a $350,000 loan note showing the signature of the borrower and terms of the loan,” Molinelli said.
However, Meneve altered the October 2008 note to “add himself as an original lender and increase the rate of return,” the prosecutor said.
Molinelli didn’t go into detail, but a law enforcement source with knowledge of the case said that, instead of having the borrower sign a note for the usual 15-percent interest fee, Meneve convinced the alleged victim to agree to pay 2 percent a month.
The 6-foot, 230-pound Rutgers University graduate then added his name to the mortgage and filed it with the Bergen County Clerk’s Office “to fraudulently secure his position as one of the lenders,” Molinelli said.
Meneve directed the borrower to make payments directly to him — $100,000 in all — instead of the true lender, the prosecutor said. Meneve then deposited the money in his personal bank account, without forwarding anything to the lender, he said.
The lender, not receiving payments, contacted the borrower, who produced the documents, along with proof of payments to Meneve.
Law enforcement authorities were alerted soon after.