From the office of the U.S. Attorney - Southern District of Florida:
- United States Attorney [Alexander] Acosta announced several recent mortgage fraud prosecutions, including two cases this week charging 18 individuals in mortgage fraud schemes that resulted in the issuance of more than $50 million in fraudulent loans.
1. United States v. Henry Quintero-Lopez, Lazaro Villalba et. al.
This joint federal-state investigation, spearheaded by the Internal Revenue Service and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, culminated in a 70-count indictment, unsealed [yesterday], charging 15 defendants in a wide-ranging mortgage fraud scheme. This scheme yielded 12 fraudulent loans, totaling approximately $8,300,000.
Among the named defendants, and their alleged conduct, listed in indictment are:
- Defendants Henry Quintero-Lopez (aka Henry J. Quintero) and Lazaro Villalba - orchestrated the scheme through which they located properties for sale, offered the owners full asking price, and inflated the contract purchase price submitted to the lender to allow their companies, New World International and D& H Investments of South Florida, to receive as a “fee” moneys in excess of the true purchase price.
- Defendant Joaquin M. Perea, the owner of J.P. Accounting Service in Miami, Florida provided fraudulent pay stubs, IRS forms W-2 ,verification of employment and verification of deposit forms for the straw buyers involved in this scheme,
- Defendants, mortgage brokers Antonio Ramos, at Home Mortgage Finance Group in Miami, and Ruben Jimenez, at Lenders Choice Mortgage Services in Miami were provided the bogus documents, who knowingly used the bogus documents to obtain mortgages in the name of the straw buyers,
- Defendants Eric Garcia (aka Raul Eric Garcia) and Martine Yanisse Castrillon were licensed State of Florida registered trainee appraisers who knowingly prepared fraudulent appraisals at the request of Quintero-Lopez and Villalba,
- A handful of straw buyers who, according to the indictment, were paid a fee and knowingly participated in the fraud, are also named as defendants. They are: defendants Felipe M. Nunez, Michelle Volcy, Luc Bruna, Maykel Clavero-Gonzalez (aka Maykel Clavero), Iray Ponte, Nidia Rodriguez-Rial (aka Nidia Rodriguez), and Iliana Lima - who were paid thousands of dollars by Quintero-Lopez and Villalba to sign the purchase documents and appear at the closings to have the properties placed in their names.
- Defendant Dahomey Talavera is listed as the incorporator of corporation D & H Investments of South Florida, Inc.
Among the duped mortgage lenders are Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB, New Century Financial Corporation, Master Financial Incorporated, WMC Mortgage Corporation, and First Franklin Financial Corporation.
2. United States v. Richard Weldon Crowder, II, Gary Mark Mills, and Karen Lynn Sullivan - Go here for Charging Document (Criminal Information)
The United States Attorney filed an Information charging the following defendants with conspiracy to commit bank fraud for their participation in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud conspiracy:
- Richard Weldon Crowder, II, a licensed mortgage broker and the former owner of America’s Best Mortgage Services, Inc., located in Coconut Creek, Florida,
- Gary Mark Mills, a licensed title attorney and the owner of Four Star Title Inc., located in Deerfield Beach, Florida, and
- Karen Lynn Sullivan, a former loan officer for Wachovia Bank.
In total, the defendants are alleged to have caused the fraudulent purchase of approximately seventeen (17) different luxury condominiums, involving more than $42,000,000 in fraudulently obtained mortgage loans from:
- Wachovia Bank, Washington Mutual Bank, Chevy Chase Bank, and Colonial Savings FA.
The scheme also involved use of phony documents, false information, straw buyers, etc.
Two other recent prosecutions announced by the U.S. Attorney Acosta:
United States v. Yvette Scott Patterson, et. al.
This investigation resulted in charges against eleven defendants involved in a massive mortgage fraud scheme involving 41 fraudulent loans, totaling over $10,000,000. Although two of the defendants remain fugitives, nine have been convicted. Eight pled guilty and one defendant was convicted at trial and sentenced in June 2007 to 120 months in jail.
United States v. Richard Layfield
Defendant Richard Layfield pled guilty on June 11, 2007 to bank fraud. Layfield, a local real estate developer, is scheduled to be sentenced on October 29, 2007 for obtaining just under $24,000,000 in fraudulent mortgages. Layfield knowingly failed to disclose $17 million in money judghments against him when applying for and obtaining the mortgages from Fremont Investment & Loan.
Go here for the U.S. Attorney Press Release - U.S. Attorney Announces Recent Mortgage Fraud Cases And New federal-State Mortgage Fraud Initiative To Crack Down On Mortgage Fraud Violators.
See also, Statewide crackdown on mortage fraud (Miami Herald - 9-27-07).