The ringleader of a $2.2 million mortgage fraud ring was sentenced this week to six years in prison and ordered to repay nearly $1 million to two companies.
Michael Hudalla, 45, of Mendota Heights, who pleaded guilty to two counts of racketeering, must also pay a $10,000 fine and is banned from ever working in the mortgage business again.
Hudalla was the CEO and co-owner of Enzo Mortgage Group in St. Paul and used the company to set up the scheme along with co-conspirators that involved condominium units in Oak Park Heights. From April to October 2007, Enzo Mortgage employees wrote false mortgage loan applications, claimed large real estate commissions, laundered the commissions through an Edina bank and distributed the money as kickbacks to Hudalla and the other defendants.
Sometimes the kickbacks were used as down payments to buy the next property in the scheme. Eventually, the condos went into foreclosure and at least one buyer, who thought he was making an investment for his retirement fund, had to file for bankruptcy.
Hennepin County District Judge George McGunnigle noted during sentencing that all eight homes involved went into foreclosure. The crimes involved $2.2 million in fraudulently obtained mortgages, while Hudalla received $335,000 in kickbacks. McGunnigle called the behavior "severe," "grave" and "criminal."
Hudalla is the final conspirator to be sentenced. Nicole Origas, a real estate agent who did business as Alfa Investment Group and Alfa Real Estate Group, was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to one count of racketeering. Eric Bernard was sentenced last fall to seven years in prison, Stacy Harrold to six years in prison and David Schoenhofer to four years in prison for mortgage fraud and identity thefts.