A property purchased by a Jersey City mayoral candidate is connected to a local man indicted in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme, but Lewis Spears says he never met the seller and was unaware of the criminal charges filed against Anthony Garvin in 2019.
The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Garvin plotted a series of short sale flips in Jersey City and other municipalities by using straw borrowers and submitting loan applications using fake pay stubs and tax information to obtain mortgages and multiple Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) loans.
Spears purchased the home at 782 Grand Street from Garvin’s firm, Merchantman LLC, in March 2010 for $265,000, but after making a $4,800 down payment, he never made any mortgage payments. By the time Bank of America foreclosed on his property, Spears owed them $414,527 – including unpaid property taxes and liens against the property for code violations, according to records filed with the Hudson County Register of Deeds and Mortgages.
The Spears campaign has publicly addressed the foreclosure of the uninhabitable house, but said he wasn’t aware of Garvin.
“This is my first time ever hearing of this guy, ever,” Spears told the New Jersey Globe on Monday. “I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a lineup.”
The circumstances around the transaction are vague, and the shadowy real estate deal seems to increase the mystery involving the purchase.
Spears says he bought the property at the…