MIDDLETON — A mortgage loan originator from Middleton could face up to 30 years in prison following his conviction Tuesday on federal bank fraud charges. 

In 2006 and 2007, Michael P. O’Donnell, the owner of a business called AMEX Home Mortgage, handled a refinance application for the owner of an apartment house on Harbor Street in Salem.

The owner of the house, who does not speak or write in English, earned just $1,200 a month, prosecutors showed. 

But in the refinancing applications, the woman’s income (from a non-existent business she was described as owning) swelled to $10,000 a month, and she supposedly had a bank account with more than $50,000.

The claims, federal prosecutors alleged, were backed with phony bank statements and tax documents submitted by O’Donnell to the lender. O’Donnell received commissions totaling more than $15,000 from the transactions, prosecutors said. 

But O’Donnell’s lawyer, Jeffrey Denner, argued to the judge that his client could not be guilty of bank fraud because the lender was not a federally-insured bank, but instead a home mortgage lender, according to court documents. 

U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock disagreed, finding O’Donnell guilty after a three-day, jury-waived trial. 

O’Donnell is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 20. 

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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