Federal prosecutors: Ex-lawyer pleads guilty in $40.8 million mortgage scheme


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CAMDEN, New Jersey — A former lawyer in New Jersey has admitted taking part in a $40.8 million mortgage scheme that operated in three states.

Joseph Witkowski of Flemington pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to 40 years in federal prison when he's sentenced Nov. 14.

Prosecutors say the 68-year-old Witkowski and other conspirators used phony documents and "straw buyers" to make illegal profits on overbuilt condominiums at the Jersey shore and at resorts in South Carolina and Georgia. They recruited buyers with good credit scores and little money, then created false documents to help the buyers get loans.

The conspirators then took a portion of the proceeds after the loans closed.

Ten other people have pleaded guilty in the conspiracy.

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