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FBI arrests Bergen father, son on short-sale mortgage fraud charges

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

Federal agents this morning arrested a Bergen County father and son who had previously agreed to pay $5.5 million — including $4 million full restitution — to state authorities for conning more than 30 victims out of investments they used to buy two Maseratis and a Ferrari, among other goodies, for themselves.

George Bussanich Sr., 56, of Park Ridge, New Jersey, and George Bussanich Jr., 35, of Upper Saddle River, “engag[ed] in a scheme that used straw buyers and short sales on two Bergen County properties to defraud mortgage lenders out of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Newark charged the pair with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud. They were scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark this afternoon.

The Bussaniches conned mortgage lenders through the sham short sales of two properties located on Jefferson Avenue in Emerson and Lillian Street in Park Ridge, the indictment alleges.

The elder Bussanich “recruited his business partner and an employee from a sleep clinic in Cliffside Park…to pose as legitimate, unrelated buyers of the properties,” Fishman said.

The clinic and other purported surgical centers were actually holding companies that he controlled, authorities said.

He used these to fund the short sales and subsequent repurchases of the properties from his son, the recorded owner of each, who lied when he negotiated the deals, they said.

Roughly two years after the bogus short sales, Bussanich Sr. bought the properties back from the straw purchasers using money that he owed a former partner, they added.

Fishman credited special agents of the FBI with the investigation leading to today’s arrests. Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas P. Grippo of Fishman’s Economic Crimes Unit.

ALSO SEE: Bergen father, son agree to pay $5.5 million to settle investment scam charges

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