Former mayoral candidate faces charges in connection with New Haven mortgage fraud scheme

A Milford lawyer who ran for mayor in 2009 is among a handful of people facing charges in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme that the Hartford Courant said “left a trail of blighted housing in New Haven.”

Genevieve Salvatore is facing several federal charges in connection with the scheme, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Salvatore was among three defendants indicted last week  for their alleged participation in “an extensive mortgage fraud scheme involving more than 50 mortgages on numerous residential properties in New Haven,” Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, said in a press statement.

A federal grand jury in New Haven indicted Andrew Constantinou, 56, of Unionville; Salvatore, 41, of Milford; and Lawrence Dressler, 46, of New Haven, on conspiracy and fraud offenses.

Others were indicted earlier in the case. They include Kwame Nkrumah, a/k/a Roger Woodson, 47, of Meriden; and Jacques Kelly, 46, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and others, charged with conspiracy and fraud.

The mortgage scheme is alleged to have taken place from September of 2006 to November of 2008.

The participants received “millions of dollars” in residential real estate loans by submitting false loan applications, fictitious leases, and false down payments to mortgage lenders,” the indictment states.

Salvatore and the others are charged with hiding from mortgage lenders the true sales price of the houses through the use of two federal housing forms, only one of which was sent to the lender, and secret contract additions.

The buyers often received payments at closing, but those payments were not disclosed to the mortgage lender, the state’s attorneys office said.

“The conspirators entered into sales contracts with property sellers for prices that were higher than the actual prices the sellers received at closing,” the indictment states. “ The conspirators then executed contract addenda that reflected the actual, lower prices. While the sales contracts bearing the contract price would be disclosed to mortgage lenders, the contract addenda were never disclosed.”

The five defendants indicted last week are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.

Court officials said that Salvatore also is charged with two counts of mail fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.

Salvatore maintains a law office in downtown Milford, and she has been involved in local politics and food allergy awareness initiatives.

She grabbed attention and respect in 2009 when she ran as virtually an unknown against incumbent Mayor James Richetelli Jr. and two other mayoral candidates, Tim Chaucer and Peter Spalthoff, in 2009. A Democrat, she lost to Richetelli, a Republican who had held the seat many years.

One local politician at the time described Salvatore as a strong businesswoman with a keen intellect.

Salvatore’s son is allergic to peanuts, and Salvatore has championed food allergy awareness initiatives in Milford for the last few years.

She also served on the city’s economic development commission and has been involved in efforts to boost downtown business.