Roberto Caro, 39, Sergio Caro, 37, Orlando Dominguez, 44, Hugo Oliva, 46, Ilan Reyes, 36, and Manuel Caro, 62, all residents of Miami, Florida, were charged in a Superseding Indictment with 44 separate criminal violations, including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341; and money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956(a) and 1957. Four of the defendants appeared in federal court in Fort Pierce on Wednesday, July 28, 2010, and had their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr. Defendant Reyes was previously released on bond after her arraignment on March 10, 2010, on the original indictment. Defendant Manuel Caro remains at large.
Dominguez, Oliva and Reyes were released on bond pending trial. A pretrial detention hearing is scheduled for Friday, July 30, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. in Fort Pierce for defendants Roberto Caro and Sergio Caro. If convicted, defendants Sergio Caro and Hugo Oliva face maximum statutory sentences of up to 30 years in prison; defendants Roberto Caro, Orlando Dominguez, and Ilan Reyes face maximum statutory sentences of up to 20 years in prison; defendant Manuel Caro faces from 20 to 40 years in prison.
This investigation began in May 2006, when law enforcement discovered marijuana grow operations in numerous homes in Port St. Lucie. During the investigation, many of those homes were linked to defendant Manuel Caro. Caro was charged in connection with the marijuana grow house operations but fled after being released on bond. Manuel Caro remains a fugitive on these 2006 drug charges.
Continued federal investigation led to the subsequent discovery of marijuana grow houses in St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties. According to the superseding indictment, most of these homes were bought with funds obtained through mortgage fraud committed by defendant Hugo Oliva, as a mortgage broker through his company, MBA Mortgage Services, Inc., and his co-defendants. To execute the fraud, the defendants submitted loan applications to mortgage lenders that contained false information, including false bank statements, W2 forms, pay stubs, verifications of deposit and verifications of employment.
The defendants were charged with individual counts of conspiracy, mail fraud in connection with the purchase of the grow houses, drug charges, and laundering drug-related money through the purchase of the homes.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, announced the charges.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Port St. Lucie Police Department, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service for their work on this investigation. The case arose from the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) long-term investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.