A two year FBI investigation into Sarasota house flipping is turning into what may be the largest case of mortgage fraud in Florida’s history.
A local real estate agent Craig Adams has been providing information to the FBI about one of the largest mortgage fraud schemes in Florida history. One of his longtime associates may become the center of attention as losses enter the millions, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Jonathan Glucker was in line to become the next president of the Gulf Coast Mortgage Bankers Association but now he’s expected to step down or be removed from the board of directors after news reports alleged that he participated in at least 10 deals with Adams since 1997.
Adams allegedly participated in dozens of deals in which properties were sold back and forth between associates, inflating values and increasing the loans they could obtain.
One of Adams’ associates, Lisa Rotolo, a Sarasota title agent who closed at least 60 deals for Adams and his associates, has been arrested in the FBI investigation. But a review of the real estate sales listed by FBI agents in court records shows that one of the deals involved Glucker and his wife, Sarasota real estate appraiser Heather Kabobel.
In that deal, Kabobel bought a house at 7796 N. Holiday Drive in Sarasota in June 2005 for $2.1 million. She and Glucker financed the purchase with a $1.68 million loan from Washington Mutual.
The criminal complaint states that a $1.68 million loan borrowed against the property was obtained fraudulently.
When told that Adams had been providing information about flipping fraud to the FBI for nearly two years, Kabobel began crying. “I feel sick to my stomach,” she said before declining further comment.
Deed and mortgage records show Glucker’s relationship with Adams dates back 12 years.
In September 1997, Adams bought a house at 3922 Longhorn Dr. in Sarasota for $55,400 and sold it to Glucker 45 days later for $75,000. Glucker financed the purchase with a $75,000 loan from CTX Mortgage, where he was employed at the time.
During the next 10 years, Glucker and his wife participated in at least nine more deals with Adams and his associates, including two in which properties were sold back and forth between associates four times.
Glucker and Kabobel’s names also surfaced in a civil lawsuit that Maryland-based Chevy Chase Bank filed against Rotolo.
In the suit, which was filed in Sarasota County Circuit Court in January, Chevy Chase claims Rotolo failed to follow closing instructions in loans made to Kabobel and Glucker.
At that time, Kabobel and Glucker “were heavily in debt, had been part of a flipping scheme which greatly and falsely exaggerated the values of properties to which they were in title and have since then been defendants in numerous lawsuits,” the Chevy Chase lawsuit claims.
The suit also states that Chevy Chase told Rotolo to use the proceeds from a $1.3 million loan to pay off a $675,000 loan and was prohibited from passing more than $2,000 to Kabobel and Glucker.
But the suit claims she failed to follow those instructions, passing $100,000 of the loan proceeds to Kabobel.
The result was that Chevy Chase was not in first position to collect the collateral when Glucker and Kabobel ultimately defaulted on the loan and is now out $1.3 million.
Glucker began his mortgage career with CTX Mortgage in Sarasota and later became the Sarasota president and bank manager for New Jersey-based Opteum Mortgage.
Opteum was purchased by California-based Prospect Mortgage in May 2007.
A call to Prospect Mortgage’s general counsel, Don Bundy, in Los Angeles on Wednesday was not returned.
Jonathan Glucker, a prominent Sarasota mortgage banker who participated in at least 10 deals with Adams since 1997, is expected to step down or be removed from the board of directors of the Gulf Coast Mortgage Bankers Association.
Glucker was in line to become the next president of that trade association, which represents the interests of mortgage companies and service providers in the Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice areas.
“We decided it would not be prudent for Glucker to ascend to the presidency at this time,” said Robert Stobaugh, the association’s current president.
But Stobaugh said Glucker has not yet formally resigned from the board. “I intend to have a private conversation about his position on the board going forward,” Stobaugh said.
Glucker did not return calls for comment.
The Herald-Tribune published a six-part series in July about flipping fraud that featured Adams and his large group of associates.
The Sarasota real estate agent and home builder was shown to have participated in dozens of deals in which properties were sold back and forth between associates, inflating values and increasing the loans they could obtain.
A criminal complaint in the U.S. District Court in Tampa connected to the arrest of Lisa Rotolo, a Sarasota title agent who closed at least 60 deals for Adams and his associates, does not accuse Glucker of any wrongdoing. And it is unknown if he is being investigated.
The criminal complaint against Rotolo states that a $1.68 million loan borrowed against a Sarasota property was obtained fraudulently.
Maryland-based Chevy Chase Bank sued Rotolo last month for failing to follow closing instructions in loans made to Glucker and another lender. At that time, the two brokers “were heavily in debt, had been part of a flipping scheme which greatly and falsely exaggerated the values of properties to which they were in title and have since then been defendants in numerous lawsuits,” the Chevy Chase lawsuit claims.
Adams turned himself in to the FBI two years ago, and his statements to federal agents resulted in Rotolo’s arrest on charges of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud and making false statements in connection with loan applications, court documents filed with the U.S. District Court in Tampa show.