John A. Yanchek Pleads GUILTY to $82.8 Million Mortgage Loan Fraud Scheme – Fraud Prevention Expert Chuck Gallagher Comments

Every choice has a consequence.  As a business ethics and fraud prevention speaker, I state that during every presentation.  Regardless of who you are or what station you may hold in life – you cannot avoid the consequences of your actions or choices.  Sure, you may avoid the consequences for a time, but in the end we must always face the consequences of our choices.

On February 4th, 2009 – John A. Yanchek – a licensed Florida attorney pled guilty to conspiracy, making false statements in connection with bank loans, and money laundering.  The consequence – Yanchek could face up to 45 years in federal prison (although his sentence will likely be much less).  prison-hands

According to the US Attorney’s news release:

YANCHEK entered into a conspiracy to make false statements to federally-insured banks in connection with applications for commercial  loans to fund the purchase of vacant land in the Sarasota/Manatee area for development.  The object of the conspiracy was to obtain a loan from a bank in an amount that was sufficient to allow the conspirators to purchase the property without contributing any equity of their own and to receive excess loan proceeds for their personal use and benefit.  To influence the lending decision of the various banks, YANCHEK, acting in his legal capacity as the closing attorney, made false statements regarding the financial resources of the borrower, the amount and source of equity contributed by the borrower, compliance with the seller’s obligation to provide marketable title to the property, and distribution of the loan proceeds.

The question now is not one of guilt.  Yancheck has made it clear that he is guilty.  Rather the question is one of motivation.  Why would a licensed attorney risk his license, livelyhood and freedom?

An article written in the (linked here) states the following:

Between January 2005 and March 2006, Husani, whose business dealings are being scrutinized by the FBI, completed seven real estate transactions in Manatee and Sarasota counties, buying land for a total of $43 million, reselling it to partners for $117 million and helping them obtain $84 million in bank loans, according to records filed with county courts.

Yanchek, by contrast, bought seven houses for $3.45 million since 2001. He then resold them to companies or trusts he controls for $5.55 million and got $4.46 million in loans from three different banks.

In his most expensive transaction, Yanchek bought a house at 101 Seagull Lane on Bird Key from Christopher and Courtney Campbell for $1.16 million on Dec. 4, 2002.

He then sold the house the same day to 101 of Sarasota Inc., a company he controls, for $2.15 million and got a $1.25 million mortgage from First State Bank.

As a side note – Husani fled the country in 2006.

From external appearances, Yancheck figured out how to defraud banks by watching too many episodes of “Flip That House.”  Frankly, however, the three components of a fraud are (1) need; (2) opportunity and (3) rationalization.  While I can’t address the orginial “need” motivation, I suspect that over time “need” became money.  From the perspective of a fraudster – once one gets the taste for money it becomes nearly impossible to divorce oneself from that need.  In Yanchek’s case the “opportunity” component was found in the license and position of trust that he had.  There is a fundamental understanding that an attorney is a trusted advisor and ethically should abide by the law.  Somehow here that point seems to be missed.

Where from here?  Well, Yancheck will be sentenced and considering the financial magnitude, I suspect that he will receive 5 years or more as an active prison sentence.

IF YOU KNOW JOHN A. YANCHECK – and would have any insight into his motivation, feel free to contact me as I am interested in what would motivate such behavior.



7 Responses to John A. Yanchek Pleads GUILTY to $82.8 Million Mortgage Loan Fraud Scheme – Fraud Prevention Expert Chuck Gallagher Comments

  1. Nancy Azzara says:

    I worked for a company that used John A Yancheck for insurance premium cases. I worked with John for 15 years. We became friends. When this whole thing started, I was shocked and could not believe that John was involved. He was always so level headed and straight forward with the cases he handled. I don’t know what to think now that he has pleaded guilty. I can’t believe he would do this to himself. I know that he was a very hard worked and would be in the office at 6 am and work until 8 pm almost daily. John was a bachelor for many years and then met this beautiful woman who shortly became his wife. My feeling is that she was very expensive to keep. She wanted to travel, shop, spend the day at the gym, spa, etc. She was high maintenance. She liked exotic animals. I can’t help but wonder if this all stems from trying to keep her happy? I’ve talked to him about his marriage and I got the feeling that he liked having a trophy wife, but didn’t feel that she loved him for anything else but the money. These are just my thoughts, I have no real insight on what motivated John. Please do not publish these comments. Although he has made this huge mistake, I still consider John a friend and I’m concerned about how he will deal with jail and I wonder how this will effect his marriage. John loved practicing law and the fact that he has lost his license is probably devastating to him.

  2. LYNDA o'nEAL says:

    I am appalled at the entry above. I have known John for fifteen years, and his wife Michele for a few years prior. She is a lovely, well-educated woman who is successful in her one right, and is actually a few years older than John. At the time that she met John, she owned her own home and was probably more solvent than he was. She owned and showed award winning cats long before she met John. Indeed, they shared a nice lifestyle, but some of her travel was on cat judging assignments to Brazil and to Europe, and others to a property owned by her family. She has remained at his side despite the embarrassment and abrupt reversal of fortune. I cannot begin to tell you what motivated John, but the characterization of his wife is blatantly unfair.

  3. Michele Yanchek says:

    I was informed of Nancy Azzara’s response to Chuck’s website by a friend of mine. I must say, Nancy was not as close a friend to John as she might have thought because I never heard John mention her name. I have never heard of her before this article. Regarding her comments, clearly, she did not have any of the facts of the situation. First of all, I love John dearly as he does me. His finances were not the motivating factor in our relationship. I fell in love with John the man. I found him remarkably intelligent, funny in his own way, a loyal and devoted friend and an all around good guy. That was a combination hard for me to resist. When I met John, I had my own business, had money in the bank, owned my home outright and had a car that was paid off. I was far more financially stable than John was. I also had a cattery and was an International Judge for United Feline Organization before I ever knew John. So I had my “exotic animals” (I didn’t know domestic cats were considered exotic animals) before I met John. After we married, I purchased dogs to add to our family, which John loved as much as they loved him. As far as our traveling was concerned, I had done a great deal of traveling already, before I met John. Other then our Honeymoon, the traveling we did tohether was because I added John’s name to my cattery, which enabled him to train and become an International Judge as well, which he did. We did some International Judging together through the cat organization we belong to, which is paid for by the club requesting your services. My parents own some timeshare in the Islands and John and I accompanied them every year for our vcation time together. They were very generous and in giving us their second bedroom to use at no cost to us. That is the traveling we did, which was at little to no coast to us. As far as shopping, I had my own money to shop with. It’s not like I was spending his money. I had my own credit cards, my own checking account and savings account which had money I earned in it. I have worked my whole life and was almost four years older than John, so I had that much more time to save money. We did not have joint accounts or joint credit cards at John’s insistance. He felt what was his was his and what was mine was mine. I was okay with that because I had my own money saved. I did not need his. Yes, I belonged to the gym. I always have. In fact, that is one of the things that John liked about me; I took care of myself. It even motivated him to join the gym. During that time, John lost a fair amount of weight and was the healthiest he had been since I’d known him. I did not and do not frequent spas as I really do not like them. I do, however,want to thank you for the compliment. I think I am sort of attractive, but I certainly do not consider myself beautiful. And as far as being a trophy wife, that is blatantly untrue. I know John never thought of me in that way. He always said he loved me because I was so passionate about life and about everything I did. So, the next time you want to publish your “feelings” try getting some of the facts first before you bad mouth someone you don’t even know. This ordeal has been devastating for me and my family, who loved John like a Son, a Brother and an Uncle. It has effected all of us and will continue to do so for a long time. As for me, I am still trying to make sence of this whole mess. I have lost my husband. They are foreclosing on my home as I cannot afford to pay the mortgage on my salary alone. I have had to find homes for many of my beloved animals, which I consider my family as I have no children, because I have had to move into an apartment and most places do not take pets (thank God this one does). I have had to put most of my belongings in storage because of the small size of the place in which I am now living. Everyone I know, knows about what happened to us because of all of the negative publicity this story got. John was never forthcoming about what or why he did what he did. I found out most of the information through what was said at the inditement and sentencing, and through newspaper articles (which I later found out contained alot of misinformation). John has left me heart broken, alone, hurt, confused, embaressed and in financial debt. Even so, I can’t bring myself to be angry with him for what he’s done. I still love John Yanchek and, God help me, probably always will.

  4. Linda Tompkins Jones says:

    John represented my husband Barry & I in a landlord dispute about 10 years ago. Although we lost the case, he did work very hard, providing good and wise counsel. During this time, my two elderly cats passed in rapid succession. When she heard this, Michele invited us to a cat show and later to their home. They had a nice, but certainly not opulent lifestyle. Barry & I really liked two of Michele’s cats, but could not afford both. She graciously agreed to let me take the cats and pay her over the next twelve months, interest free. Michele, if you see this I would like you to know Minuet and Angel, now age 10, are still healthy and happy. They are a source of much joy and comfort. We also saw Michele in an Island Players production. She was talented and engaging. I can’t speak to what motivated John, who is making restitution. But I am saddened to see what has happened to two bright, energetic and gifted people. My hope for both is the opportunity to rebuild and eventually be at peace.

  5. Michele Yanchek says:


    Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. It truly had been a trying time for both John and I. He his in a minimum security prison and they have put him to work teaching basic skills to the other inmates. (English, math, etc.) I hope he finds joy in teaching as he will need to start a new field of employment after his release. I can no longer breed cats as I live in a small apartment with animal restristions. I am allowed to have two pets here and they give me the love and affection I need to help me survive this rough patch in my life. God has blessed me with a job I enjoy and that I am good at. I work as Managing/Artistic Director for a local Florida Theatre Company. I am surviving my tragedy, but it will take years before the wounds truly heal. The hardest thing is the fact that I miss John horribly. I am glad that you love you animals so much and that they are doing well. As a breeder, that is the greatest gift you could give me. Kiss them both for me. Each little kitty I nurtured still holds a special place in my heart. I wish you and Barry all my best. Again, thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a great deal to me! Michele Yanchek

  6. Abby Hostetter says:

    I just found out. Carl & I are both in shock. John was always such a source of strength and wisdom and I know you are both hard workers and always have been. Please know that you are both in our prayers and wish you all the best. Stay strong.

  7. John's friend says:

    Michelle was only with John because of his money – she could care less for him as a person

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