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Sewickley Woman Guilty on Federal Fraud and Money Laundering

Denise Bonfilio, 55, used false information to submit loan applications to purchase and then refinance seven properties in Sewickley and one in Fox Chapel. A substantial portion of the funds were used for personal benefit.

A Sewickley woman was found guilty Thursday of eight counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

The verdict for Denise Bonfilio, 55, came after a one-month jury trial with U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti presiding. A date for sentencing has not been set.

In Feb. 2009 a federal grand jury indicted Bonfilio on eight counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering involving properties in the Sewickley area and Fox Chapel.

In court documents, prosecutors charge that Bonfilio submitted loan applications to purchase and then refinance seven properties in Sewickley and one in Fox Chapel between June 2005 to April 2008. The loan documents contained false borrower income and asset information as well as false sales prices for the homes, well above fair market value, according to federal court records.

Prosecutors said Bonfilio and her partners in the alleged scheme used a substantial portion of the funds secured from the mortgages for their personal benefit.

The Sewickley properties listed in the federal indictment against Bonfilio include residences in the 500 block of Chesnut Street, the 100 block of Oak Lane, the 100 block of Pine Manor Road, the 200 block of Spanish Tract, the 100 block of Creek and on Persimmon Road. 

Bonfilio had owned the blighted house at Pine Manor until she defaulted on the $400,000 mortgage and Bank of America foreclosed on the property.

That two-story structure, located off Camp Meeting Road at the entrance of Pine Manor, is condemned, boarded up and nearing demolition.

In October of last year, Bonfilio’s friend and partner in the scheme, Deborah Kitay, 55, of Leetsdale, was sentenced in federal court to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for failing to file her income tax returns and wire fraud conspiracy, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Pittsburgh. 

Bonfilio and Kitay submitted loan applications on Sewickley-area homes, borrowed ostensibly to fix the homes, but spent the money on themselves. Some of the loans ended in foreclosure.

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