The wife of a reputed mob figure admitted Tuesday that she conspired to defraud a mortgage lender in order to buy a $715,000 house in Egg Harbor Township.

Lisa Marie Scarfo — the daughter-in-law of jailed organized-crime leader Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo — pleaded guilty in Camden federal court to conspiracy to make false statements for the purpose of influencing the actions of the bank on her mortgage loan application.

Scarfo’s husband, known as Nicky Jr., is an alleged member of the the Lucchese La Cosa Nostra crime family.

He, alleged Lucchese associate Salvatore Pelullo and 11 others — including Lisa — were charged in a November 2011 indictment, with some charged with as many as 25 counts.

Charges included acts of securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, extortion, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Nicky Jr. and Pelullo allegedly led the group that targeted Texas-based financial services company FirstPlus Financial Group Inc. for takeover to loot the company. A substantial part of the enterprise’s alleged activities occurred in New Jersey, including communications and the transfer of money into and out of the state.

Lisa Marie Scarfo admitted that she joined the mortgage fraud conspiracy in January 2008, when she worked with Nicky Jr. — then her fiance — and others to secure a $500,000 mortgage from St. Edmond’s Federal Savings Bank to purchase the Egg Harbor Township house. Pennsylvania accountant Howard Drossner previously pleaded guilty and admitted he created false tax returns to help Lisa Marie Scarfo qualify for a mortgage for the house under the direction of Pelullo.

After the scheme was shut down by federal law enforcement in May 2008, the Scarfos were unable to pay the mortgage and the house ultimately went into foreclosure. It was sold by the bank in 2010.

Scarfo Jr., Pelullo and eight other defendants charged in November 2011 — including attorneys William Maxwell, Cory Leshner, David Adler, Gary McCarthy and Donald Manno – are scheduled for trial Oct. 28. Todd Stark, also charged in the indictment, previously pleaded guilty to providing ammunition to Scarfo and Pelullo, convicted felons.

The conspiracy count to which Lisa Marie Scarfo pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 10.

Contact Lynda Cohen:


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