Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Miami Feds Announce New Fraud Cases; Organizers, Real Estate Brokers, Straw Buyers, Recruiters, Title Agents Bagged In Alleged Double HUD-1 Scams

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Miami, Florida):
  • Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida [and other law enforcement authorities] announced two new multi-million dollar mortgage fraud prosecutions.

***

  • On December 15, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a six-count Indictment charging ten defendants in a mortgage fraud scheme, which resulted in the approval and disbursement of approximately $7.9 million in mortgage loans.(1) [...] On December 15, 2009, a federal grand jury returned a five count Indictment charging five defendants for their participation in [another] mortgage fraud scheme.(2)

For the U.S. Attorney press release, see 15 Defendants Charged In Two Separate Mortgage Fraud Cases Involving Almost $10 Million In Fraudulent Loans.

(1) The Indictment named the following defendants:

  • Greta Medina, the alleged organizer of the scheme,
  • Margaret Roberts, a real estate broker,
  • Dania Arguelles, alleged straw buyer recruiter,
  • Martin Mere, alleged straw buyer recruiter,
  • Melissa Ann Scher, Alfonso Velasco, Adan Vasquez, Yohamel Caballero, and Alberto Lopera, alleged straw buyers,
  • Karim Goding, title agent.

Medina and Goding allegedly caused the lender to loan more money than it otherwise would have loaned by preparing and submitting to the lender a false HUD-1 Settlement Statement with an inflated purchase price. The defendants then concealed the fraudulent scheme by creating a second version of the HUD-1 Settlement Statement to be provided to the seller reflecting the actual purchase price of the property. At closing, the defendants diverted millions in loan proceeds by skimming the difference between the inflated purchase price and the price actually paid to the seller for the property.

(2) The Indictment named the following defendants:

  • Julio Llanessa and Laura Fernandez a/k/a “Laura Llanessa, the alleged organizers of the scheme,
  • Fausto Guzman, alleged straw buyer accused of receiving $30,000 for obtaining for two loans – one in the amount of $1.5 million and the other in the amount of $100,000,
  • Ryan T. Dosen, title agent, and Emma Betancourt, title agent employee.

Title agents Dosen and Betancourt allegedly participated in the preparation of a false HUD-1 Settlement Statement for the property, which reflected a fraudulently inflated sale price of $2 million. A second HUD-1 Settlement Statement, which the defendants did not disclose to Countrywide, revealed a sales price of $1.68 million. It was based on the represented $2 million sale price that Countrywide approved the $1.6 million in loans.

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