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Hillsborough man pleads guilty in $5 million condo conversion scam

Jonathan Marmol, 41, of Odessa, faces up to 5 years in federal prison for conspiring to make false statements to banks that lost $5 million on sketchy loans.

TAMPA — A Hillsborough County mortgage broker and a South Florida developer each face up to 5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to lie to banks that lost a total of $5 million on loans they made at the Preserve of Temple Terrace.

Starting in 2006, just as the collapse of the subprime mortgage market burst the housing bubble and triggered the Great Recession, developer Mordechai Boaziz, 68, of Fort Lauderdale and Jonathan Marmol, 41, of Odessa, conspired with others to conceal the fact that their condo buyers weren’t what they seemed.

Boaziz had purchased the Preserve at Temple Terrace, a 392-unit complex near Lettuce Lake Park on Fletcher Avenue, and was converting its apartments to condominiums. He hired Marmol to market the condos, some selling in the low $200,000s, according to court records.

To line up buyers, Marmol, Boaziz and others offered to pay the down payments for the purchasers. But they told banks that included Wells Fargo and Wachovia Mortgage that the buyers had put down their own money, making them appear to be better credit risks than they really were. The banks lost money when the mortgages failed.

Marmol and Boaziz are scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 7. Last year, U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew sentenced a co-conspirator, Alejandro Tobon, to 37 months in prison, 60 months of supervised release and more than $5.8 million in restitution.

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