Costa Mesa mortgage lender Ditech.com Inc. said Friday that it has fired three top managers who were indicted May 2 on federal charges of extortion and accepting illegal kickbacks.
"They are no longer employees of GMAC or Ditech," said Rick Gillespie, a spokesman for GMAC Residential Holdings, which owns Ditech. The executives had been on paid leave.
An attorney for one manager, Vincent Pozzuoli, 36, formerly vice president of loan originations, said his client was caught off-guard by the decision. "There was no indication it was coming, but I'm not totally surprised," defense attorney James D. Riddet said.
Attorneys for former operations manager Jay David Marx, 36, and escrow services supervisor Gregory Kenneth DeLong, 41, could not be reached for comment late Friday.
The indictment accuses the trio of threatening to stop using ATM Corp. of America unless the Pittsburgh real estate services company agreed to pay them and to put Marx's father-in-law on its payroll as a "ghost employee." ATM reported the threat, then allegedly paid the men $11,451 as part of an FBI sting operation.
Federal agents also have seized records from at least one other Ditech client--Burbank real-estate-services company Southland Title--in connection with the case.
Marx, of San Juan Capistrano, and DeLong and Pozzuoli, both of Newport Beach, are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.
Fast-growing Ditech, which was founded in 1995 and funded $4.3 billion in loans last year, has garnered a national reputation for aggressively marketing higher-risk home equity loans.
Ditech founder and Chief Executive J. Paul Reddam, a flamboyant figure who doubled as the firm's TV pitchman, resigned the same day the investigation became public. Reddam has not been charged.
GMAC has dispatched executives from its Pennsylvania headquarters to help run Ditech in the interim. The headlines have not resulted in much backlash. The company has had a record month in second-mortgage loans, Gillespie said.