Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Jury Convicts Pair In Scheme Targeting Unsophisticated Aspiring Homebuyers With Crappy Credit & Fleecing Them Of Their Downpayment Cash; Over $1.8 Million Purloined From At Least 106 Victims; 3rd Defendant Copped Pre-Trial Guilty Plea, Then Squealed At Trial On Other Two

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (McAllen, Texas):
  • Two men have been convicted for their roles in a “second chance” mortgage lending scheme, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. A federal jury convicted Luis Antonio Rodriguez, 36, of Mission, and Rogelio Ramos Jr., 36, of Pharr, of conspiracy to commit wire fraud late Friday, May 26, following a seven-day-trial and approximately nine hours of deliberation.

    A third defendant - Guadalupe Artemio Gomez, 31, of Mission - pleaded guilty before trial and testified against both Rodriguez and Ramos.(1)

    All three were accused of operating a “second chance” financing business under the names of T.G. and Wealth, Infinite Properties and Me In 3D, focusing on individuals who were financially unable to apply for traditional home financing. The investigation revealed Gomez, Rodriguez and Ramos conducted business in McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Houston and San Antonio by hiring recruiters to funnel prospective home buyers to Infinite Properties. The homebuyers then gave 10 percent of the purchase price as a down payment to Infinite Properties.

    During trial, the jury heard from victims, law enforcement and an FBI forensic accountant who testified that instead of using the down payments as intended, the money was used for personal expenses, trips to Las Vegas and to purchase other real estate.

    The defense claimed they had no intent to defraud the victims because they had attempted to get a $10 million loan. The jury was not convinced and found both men guilty as charged.

    Rodriguez and Ramos defrauded 106 people out of more than $1.8 million in down payments.

    Anyone who believes they may be a victim of fraud in relation to this investigation or any other similar crime may contact the FBI at 210-225-6741.
Source: McAllen Federal Jury Returns Guilty Verdict in Second Chance Lending Scheme.
(1) See United States v. Moody, 206 F.3d 609, 617 (6th Cir. 2000) (Wiseman, J., concurring) for one Federal judge's observation, made in the context of drug conspiracy cases, on the so-called "race to the courthouse/prosecutor's office" that frequently takes place during the early stages of these "multi-target" criminal conspiracy investigations:
  • In practical terms, [] conspiracy cases have become a race to the courthouse. When a conspiracy is exposed by an arrest or execution of search warrants, soon-to-be defendants know that the first one to "belly up" and tell what he knows receives the best deal. The pressure is to bargain and bargain early, even if an indictment has not been filed.

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