Wednesday, March 09, 2011

“My wife tells me what to do.”

That was Matt Gulla, the main snitch against the cops in the mortgage fraud trial, when asked whether another co-defendant told him what to do. "The answer momentarily caught [the defense lawyer] off guard, before he drew a titter throughout the courtroom by retorting that wives are the presumed bosses in the spousal pecking order."

A titter, huh?

That reminds me of the cross-examination question of a special agent getting thrown back at a defense lawyer many years ago: Question: "Aren't all agents special agents?" Answer: "My mom doesn't think so."

More from James Burnett, who is covering the case for the Herald:

“Yes” and “I don’t recall” became mantras Tuesday for Gulla, who has already accepted a plea deal that could send him to jail for less than three years, as defense attorneys pushed him repeatedly to admit carrying out the fraudulent transactions.

Gulla admitted that he and partner Rene Rodriguez, who has also accepted a plea deal, persuaded lenders to approve the applications, by making up fake lease agreements for properties the defendants already owned, to try to show non-existent rental income. Many of the fake leases used the names of Gulla’s high school classmates and in-laws. He said he and Rodriguez also stacked the deck for the accused cops by falsely telling lenders the defendants planned to make the investment properties their primary residences. The ultimate goal, Gulla said, was to secure better interest rates and larger loans for the defendants.

Under stiff cross examination by several defense attorneys Tuesday, Gulla explained how they were able to beat the system: Submitting fake documents and documents intentionally incorrectly filled out on the assumption that lenders simply wouldn’t catch on. Perhaps the most important toothless policy that Gulla and Rodriguez used to their advantage was the Stated Income Program, which essentially allowed potential home buyers to get loans with little to no proof of their income and credit worthiness.

But Gulla insisted the defendants were aware of his deceptions to lenders, and sometimes found humor in it.

He had testified Monday that once he bumped into Mittauer at an attorney’s office, where the alleged fraud ring held mortgage closings. When he asked Mittauer why he was there, Gulla testified Mittauer responded that he was just “trying to figure out where I’m moving this week,” an apparent reference to the frequently used “primary residence” lie.

“It was kind of sad, really,” Gulla said. “We both just kind of laughed about it.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows that Mona's name is the first in the firm name.