Los Angeles Business Journal

Bribes Lead to Prison for Bank Employee

By Business Journal Staff Monday, July 21, 2014

A former Bank of America employee in Simi Valley received 30 months in federal prison on Monday for approving artificially low prices for property short sales in exchange for $1.2 million in bribes.

Kevin Lauricella, 29, also was ordered to pay $5.7 million in restitution to Bank of America and to forfeit his Thousand Oaks residence, which was purchased with some of the bribe money. In January, Lauricella pleaded guilty to felony charges of receiving bribes and making false entries in the bank’s books.

Lauricella worked in the Short Sale Department at the bank's Simi Valley office in 2010 and 2011. He was responsible for negotiating short sales, in which a lender allows property securing a mortgage to be sold for less than the existing loan balance, usually because the borrower can no longer make the payments.

In return for bribes paid by various buyers, Lauricella used his position to “approve” short sales that he was not authorized to approve at sales prices far below the market value of the properties. He then made false entries in Bank of America’s computer system to make it appear the bank had approved the sales.

In his guilty plea, he admitted approving bogus short sales for at least nine properties, with damages to Bank of America totally $5.7 million.

Lauricella was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II. The case was investigated by the FBI.