Florida man sentenced for theft from Sayreville couple in mortgage scam

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A man from Florida was sentenced to eight years in a New Jersey state prison and was ordered to pay restitution to his victims after scamming a couple from Sayreville.

Robert Perniola, 60, formerly of Manalapan, now living in Pompano Beach, Florida, was sentenced on March 7 by Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Benjamin S. Bucca Jr. to a prison term of 8 years, according to information provided by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

In addition, Bucca ordered Perniola to pay restitution in the amount of $180,867. The restitution included approximately $90,000 for mortgage payments that the defendant stole, and which caused the victims to default on their mortgage, according to the statement. The additional $90,000 was for interest costs, fees and a balloon payment which was caused by defendant’s criminal conduct.

The investigation determined that Perniola, between Jan. 13, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2014, obtained funds from a Sayreville couple by falsely representing himself as someone that was assisting them in refinancing their mortgage, according to the statement. After the victims sent money to Perniola, on a monthly basis to pay down their mortgage, he funneled the money into his personal accounts.

Bucca was sentenced in accordance with a plea agreement reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christine D’Elia. Perniola pleaded guilty on May 23, 2018, to second degree theft by deception. He was charged following an investigation by Detective Kevin Schroeck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.