New York.- A wealthy Glen Head developer who is already serving an 8-year sentence for his role in a 2007 congressional corruption scandal was charged Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn with masterminding a $90-million mortgage scam.
Thomas Kontogiannis, 60, who is in federal prison for laundering bribes paid to former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.), was accused of using straw buyers, staged sales and phony appraisals to fraudulently get financing for multiunit housing subdivisions in Brooklyn and Queens from Washington Mutual Bank and DLJ Capital Inc.
In court, prosecutor Jonathan Green called it “one of the biggest mortgage frauds ever uncovered.”
The scheme unfolded between 2001 and 2003, Green said. Kontogiannis and eight other defendants, including seven from Long Island, were indicted on charges including conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum of 30 years in prison.
Kontogiannis, in prison at Fort Devens medical center in Massachusetts until 2014, was not present, but his lawyer said he would plead not guilty. He also pleaded guilty in 2002 to bribery and bid-rigging involving school computer contracts in Queens.
Also charged were his nephew John Michael, 38, of Massapequa; Elias Apergis, 32, of Old Brookfield; Steven Martini, 56, of Searingtown; Stefan Deligiannis, 35, of East Northport; Ted Doumazios, 40, of Plainview; architect Edward Hogan, 60, of Massapequa; engineer Jonathan Rubin, 43, of Remsenburg; and Nadia Konstantinadou, 45, of the Bronx.
Those eight were arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn Thursday afternoon and were released on bail packages ranging from $500,000 to $4 million after pleading not guilty.
Michael’s lawyer said he cooperated with California prosecutors after being charged in the Cunningham case, helping to bring the Kontogiannis mortgage fraud case to light and receiving probation as a result of his assistance. Other defense lawyers said their clients were innocent dupes of Kontogiannis’ development enterprise.
“It’s going to be a case where a lot of unsuspecting employees were duped into believing it was a legitimate company and now find themselves indicted,” said Thomas Eouanou, the lawyer for Konstantinadou.
**** NY Newsday