BERGEN COUNTY MAN ADMITS DECADE-LONG $80 MILLION FRAUD SCHEME
NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, New Jersey, man today admitted orchestrating a long-running bank and securities fraud scheme, which led to large-scale losses for financial institutions and investors, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Seth Levine, 52, of Teaneck, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of securities fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Levine was the founding partner, owner, and managing member of Norse Holdings, which was the parent company to more than 70 subsidiary companies. Each of the subsidiary companies owned one or more multifamily buildings, located primarily in New Jersey. From 2009 through August 2019, Levine directed a scheme to fraudulently refinance the multifamily properties by providing materially false information to financial institutions about the rents collected, the number of apartments leased, the expenses, and the true owners of the properties.
Levine and others provided lenders fake documents, including falsified leases that created the appearance that vacant spaces were occupied and that overstated the rent paid by tenants; fake personal financial statements; fake expense documents; and fake operating agreements that misrepresented ownership interests in the multifamily properties. Levine also forged signatures on some of the fraudulent documents submitted to lenders. As a result of the fraudulent refinances, Levine received cash payouts from the lenders, which Levine and others used for their own enrichment and to continue the fraud scheme.