Most families go down to the Jersey Shore for a weekend beach fun and boardwalk treats. One family allegedly went there to commit real estate fraud.
This week, a state grand jury indicted a father-and-son duo for allegedly defrauding investors and mortgage lenders, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin’s office announced. They allegedly bilked more than $2.5 million from their victims. An arraignment date hasn’t been set for the two defendants as of Friday afternoon.
Park Ridge’s George Bussanich, Sr. and Upper Saddle River’s George Bussanich, Jr. were charged with conspiracy, theft and money laundering for a scheme that allegedly happened between August 2018 and March 2020.
An investigation found the father and son allegedly tricked victims into thinking they were investing in the purchase, renovation and sale of four residential homes spread across Ship Bottom, Manahawkin and Surf City.
Melanie Whitney, daughter of the family patriarch, allegedly misled a pair of investors into partnering with her while concealing the involvement of her brother and father. That duo allegedly diverted invested funds towards entities for personal use. They also allegedly laundered stolen funds through bank accounts and entities under their control.
George Bussanich, Jr. also allegedly submitted falsified loan applications to help land financing for the alleged scam.
This isn’t the first time the family has been under the thumb of prosecutors. Two years ago, the three were among those accused in a state criminal complaint on related charges. Prior to that, the father and son were convicted and sentenced to 10 and eight years respectively, on another money laundering scheme, according to the Asbury Park Press. They were both paroled in the last 27 months.
Earlier this year, Whitney pleaded guilty to theft by deception for her role in the Jersey Shore scam. A sentencing date has not been set for her.