Man pleads guilty to role in $445K mortgage fraud scheme involving ex-Kearny councilman

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A Wildwood man pleaded guilty to playing the role of a “straw buyer” in a nearly half a million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme – which involved a former Kearny councilman – to make illegal profits on over-developed condos in the Wildwood area, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced. 

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By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Daniel Cardillo, 51, of Wildwood, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle in Camden federal court to a superseding information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud yesterday.

Previously, John Leadbeater, 58, of Kearny –  a 4th Ward township councilman from 1990 until 1999 – and others identified homes in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. Leadbeater and others would then recruit straw buyers, including Cardillo, to purchase those properties at inflated rates, authorities said.

The straw buyers had good credit scores, but lacked the financial resources to qualify for mortgage loans, according to court documents.

Cardillo and others were able to deceive a bank into providing Cardillo a $445,141.61 loan for the purchase of 620 West Burk Avenue, Unit 102, in Wildwood, officials said.

He then submitted a fraudulent loan application prepared by other conspirators that contained false information about his income, assets and intended use of the property, authorities said.

The conspiracy charge to which Cardillo pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentencing is currently scheduled for September 14.

Leadbeater pleaded guilty to a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud on March 9, admitting his role in a $13 million mortgage fraud scam that used straw buyers to purchase Wildwood properties. His sentencing is also scheduled for September 14.