Former Hubbard attorney sentenced to 3 years in prison for bank fraud
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A former Hubbard attorney who gave up his law practice as he was about to be disciplined will now spend three years in prison.
Richard James Lacivita, who was originally charged with bank fraud and making a false statement on on a loan appeared in front of a federal magistrate on Monday.
Lacivita was ordered to spend 36 months in prison, spend five years on probation, and pay $663,000 in restitution.
In December, Lacivita pleaded guilty to the charges.
Lacivita, who now lives in Canfield, resigned from the practice of law in 2012 amid a pending discipline from the Ohio Supreme Court's disciplinary council.
Investigators say Lacivita also owned and operated Associated Land Title Agency of Hubbard until December 2013 when he surrendered his title agent license.
According to the bill of information, Lacivita improperly used money from real estate transactions that had been placed into an escrow account.
Prosecutors say Lacivita didn't turn the money over to previous lien holders to pay off existing mortgages but allegedly invested some of the money into another business, used some the money to run his title agency and used some of the money for personal use.
Although Lacivita could not legally issue title insurance after 2010 when his underwriting company terminated their relationship with him, the bill of information says by the end of 2013 he closed 350 real estate transactions and received about $231,700 in fees and title insurance premiums for policies that were never issued.
During that same time period, prosecutors say Lacivita closed more than $8.4 million worth of FHA insured mortgage loans and collected $64,000 in fees and premiums for title insurance policies that were never issued.
Additionally, the government says Lacivita closed 16 rural development loans worth $1.3 million, collecting $13,965 in fees and premiums for insurance policies that were not issued.
The bill of information says Lacivita defrauded lenders, sellers and the owners of four properties in Hubbard, Warren and New Middletown valued at $422,333.
The sale of one of those properties on Meadowland Drive in Hubbard, was the topic of an affidavit filed by one of Lacivita's clients after he had resigned from his law practice.
Richard Rose said that he hired Lacivita's title firm in 2013 after his wife signed a contract to buy the Meadowland property.
Rose said in the affidavit that he and his wife were unaware that Lacivita had resigned as an attorney and could no longer legally act as a title insurance agent.
Lacivita was given $69,000 to pay the price of the property and costs, according to the affidavit.
The following month, Rose said Lacivita had paid only part of the mortgage, and Rose's wife had to come up with $27,000 of her own money to pay off the balance.
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