The FBI has charged 7 real estate professionals with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. A federal grand jury indicted licensed real estate agents, Moctezuma Tovar, 42; Manuel Herrera, 31; Ruben Rodriguez, 34; and Jaime Mayorga, 32, and former loan processors Sandra Hermosillo, 49, Jun Michael Dirain, 38, and Christian Parada Renteria, 35 on July 14, 2011.
The charges claim that Tovar, the owner of Delta Homes and Lending Inc., and the other 6 defendants who worked with him at the real estate and mortgage lending company, contrived a scheme to extract monies from lenders by falsifying borrowers’ income, liabilities, debts and assets, citizenship status and bank account balances. Tovar’s company would provide money to the borrowers to help them gain approval by the lenders, and then after closing, would be paid back by the borrowers.
Lenders, according to the charges, claim to have lost at least $4 million to this scheme, with sales prices of the homes totalling in excess of $10 million.
This case was brought to light through the efforts of the FBI. The prosecutor, Assistant United States Attorney Dominique N. Thomas stated, “Fraud schemes such as the one alleged in this case, in which real estate professionals submitted false information and phony documents to obtain mortgage loans, are one of the major reasons why this part of California was hit with a foreclosure crisis that negatively impacted home values for many, many homeowners. This office will continue to root out and prosecute fraudsters in the residential real estate industry.”
The punishment these 7 face, if convicted, could consist of both a $1 million fine, and a maximum of 30 years in prison. The court, however, has the authority to determine the fine, based upon numerous criteria.
The President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (www.StopFraud.gov.) has made investigations of mortgage fraud a top priority. The task force is a collaborative effort between many agencies, both federal and state, including both law enforcement and regulatory entities. Their goal is to use the full power of their offices to combat financial crimes, recover monies lost by victims of financial crime, see that justice is meted out where appropriate and to fight discrimination in the financial and lending markets.