SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging seven real estate professionals with conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme. The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on July 14, 2011.
Charged in the case are Moctezuma Tovar, 42; Manuel Herrera, 31; Ruben Rodriguez, 34; and Jaime Mayorga, 32, all licensed real estate agents residing in Sacramento; Sandra Hermosillo, 49, of Woodland, formerly a loan officer; Jun Michael Dirain, 38, of Antelope, formerly a loan processor; and Christian Parada Renteria, 35, of Sacramento, formerly a loan officer. The indictment alleges that Tovar owned and operated Delta Homes and Lending Inc, a real estate and mortgage lending company where he and the other defendants were employed. Between October 2004 and May 2007, the defendants are alleged to have conspired to obtain home loans from mortgage lenders based upon false and fraudulent loan applications and supporting documents that falsely represented the borrowers’ assets and income, liabilities and debts, employment status, and citizenship status. The indictment alleges that, as part of the scheme, the defendants provided money to borrowers in order to fraudulently inflate the borrowers’ assets and bank account balances. Once the defendants had secured approved loans based upon their fraudulent representations to lenders, the borrowers returned the money the defendants had provided for the scheme. The indictment alleges that mortgage lenders and others suffered losses of at least $4 million, and that the aggregate sales prices of the homes involved in the conspiracy exceeded $10 million.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Dominique N. Thomas is prosecuting the case.
U.S. Attorney Wagner said: “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.”
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mortgage fraud is a priority area for the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.