BOSTON – A real estate lawyer was sentenced Friday to 51 months in prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than $3 million in escrow funds he was holding for First Citizen’s FCU, Ocean Spray Employees’ FCU and several local banks.

Craig Martin, 54, was supposed to be holding funds in escrow to pay off pre-existing mortgages but instead used the funds to finance mortgages on properties in his own name.

In one case, Martin, acting as a settlement attorney for a mortgage refinancing on a property in Falmouth, on Cape Cod, received nearly $500,000 from First Citizens FCU in an escrow account. Instead of paying back the bank that held the mortgage, Sovereign Bank, Martin used that money "for his own purposes," including paying "four mortgage liens on other properties," according to court documents.

To hide the scheme Martin shifted funds between accounts, court records show.

Martin pleaded guilty in February to two counts of wire fraud.

 

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