Two people have admitted their roles in a multi-million dollar mortgage scheme that used condominiums in the Wildwood area.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced Paul Watterson, 53, of Mountainside, Union County, and John Bingaman, 44, of Venton, Ark., pleaded guilty in federal court in Camden to wire fraud and money laundering charges. Bingaman entered his plea Thursday and Watterson entered his plea Wednesday.

Authorities said Watterson and his conspirators identified homes in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest and recruited straw buyers to purchase those properties at the inflated rates. Watterson created fraudulent loan applications that contained false information about the straw buyers’ employment, income, assets and intended use of the properties to make them more creditworthy than they actually were in order to get the loans.

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Watterson then took a portion of the loans totaling $273,600 from five separate real estate transactions.

Authorities said Bingaman purchased three separate properties in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest by falsifying his loan applications. He collected $241,790, authorities said.

The two face a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Watterson will be sentenced on March 13, and Bingaman will be sentenced on March 14.

Contact Joel Landau:


Follow Joel Landau on Twitter @landaupressofac

Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.

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