Woman Admits Role in Straw Buyer Scam

Allison Tussey —  March 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

Arlene Jeanette Mojardin, 32, Bakersfield, California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud, in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in Bakersfield.

According to court documents, from 2007 to 2010, Mojardin conspired with others to use straw buyers to purchase residential properties in Bakersfield. They paid straw buyers to purchase properties developed by Jara Brothers Investments (JBI) and Pershing Partners LLC and funded the purchases using loans they obtained based on false and fraudulent loan applications. The loan applications contained false statements concerning the straw buyers’ employment status, income, assets, intent to occupy the properties as their personal residences, and source of down payments for the purchase of the properties.

The conspirators concealed from the lenders that the property developers funded some down payments. The conspirators also submitted false supporting documentation to lenders such as false and altered bank account statements purporting to show that the straw buyers had a high bank account balances, false verifications of the straw buyers’ bank account funds, false verifications of rent purporting to be from straw buyers’ landlords, false pay stubs, and false verifications of employment.

Mojardin was a licensed real estate agent and handled many of the real estate transactions in furtherance of the conspiracy. She was also employed at relevant times at JBI, was a property buyer from Pershing Partners on at least two of the real estate transactions in the conspiracy, and obtained loans based on false and fraudulent information. Mojardin received proceeds from the conspiracy including payments for purchasing property as a nominee buyer and payments for acting as the real estate agent on many of the other transactions in the conspiracy. Mojardin admitted she caused lenders approximately $3,713,600 in losses due to her role in the conspiracy.

Mojardin is scheduled to be sentenced on May 18, 2015, by Senior United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. The maximum sentence for the conspiracy charge is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Co-defendant Antonio Perez-Marcial was sentenced on May 12, 2014, to 46 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Co-defendant Candace Gonzales previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud, and her sentencing is set for June 8, 2015. Co-defendant Ricardo Salinas previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud, and his sentencing is set for June 29, 2015.

The indictment charges five additional defendants, who are set to proceed to trial on April 28, 2015, before Judge Ishii.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the guilty plea.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service‑Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff, Henry Z. Carbajal III, and Megan A. S. Richards are prosecuting the case.

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Allison Tussey

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