Jamaica man gets 21 months in prison for defrauding mortgage companies in a three-year scheme

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A Jamaica man was sentenced for defrauding mortgage lending companies for nearly three years, federal prosecutors announced Friday.

James Bayfield, 46, was convicted for conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud in January 2017. He was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Bayfield will also have to pay $184,651 in forfeiture.

“Bayfield has portrayed himself as a mortgage specialist, but now stands exposed as a convicted thief who used his knowledge of real estate transactions to carry out his fraudulent schemes against lending institutions,” stated U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue. “This Office will continue working with our law enforcement partners to vigorously prosecute those who commit mortgage fraud and enrich themselves at the expense of lenders left holding the loans.”

According to charges, between September 2008 and May 2011, Bayfield, along with his co-conspirators, submitted mortgage loan applications to lending institutions, including Amtrust, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, claiming that the applications were connected to purchases of residential properties in Brooklyn and Queens.

However, the applications had fraudulent information, including inflated purchase prices and false information about the assets and income of the “purchasers,” many of whom were paid to act as straw purchasers.

Bayfield and his co-conspirators would also provide false down payment checks to make it look like the straw purchasers and other borrowers had made down payments themselves on the properties.

Finally, Bayfield and his co-conspirators made simultaneous and secretive purchases and sales of the properties, sometimes called “flips,” at inflated prices. The lending institutions then issued millions of dollars of mortgage loans secured by these properties with inflated appraisal values, and many of these loans were placed into default status.

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