Roger K. Howard, 51, Englewood, Colorado, was sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson to serve 108 months in federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering.
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Stephen Elmer Callo, Oahu, Hawaii, has been sentenced by U.S. District Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway for his role in the largest Hawaiian mortgage fraud conspiracy involving wire fraud and loan application misrepresentations.
Two indictments of 13 Oahu residents and one from the state of Washington on mortgage fraud related charges were unsealed with the arrests of 10 of the 14 defendants. A federal grand jury had returned the indictments on August 11, 2010, but they had remained sealed. One indictment charged 10 defendants in 56 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and false statements on loan applications, while the other named four defendants in 33 counts of the same nature. The 14 named defendants are:
Estrelita “Esther” Garo Miguel, 58, Oahu;
Jennifer Garin Miguel, 29, Oahu;
Yolie Castillo Tiburcio, 36, Oahu;
Vinah Ceriales Morales, 45, Oahu;
Geraldine Garin Miguel Lukela, 33, Oahu;
Teresita “Tessie” Faeldonea Sorino, 33, Oahu;
Mary Ann Lapenia, 57, Oahu;
Stephen Elmer Callo, 59, Oahu;
Felicidad “Felicia” Tabalbag Corpuz, 60, Washington;
Albert Lonoikauakini Joy, 45, Oahu;
Atlantica Kahaunani “Nani” Tanuvasa, 37, Oahu;
Lene Tanuvasa, Jr., 40, Oahu;
Samantha Michel, 37, Oahu;
Michelle Lee Malulani Kama, 39, Oahu;
According to the indictments, the purposes of the conspiracies and fraud schemes were to defraud lending institutions and others by submitting loan documents containing false information. The two indictments allege that certain defendants recruited individuals to apply for mortgage loans and to sign loan documents containing false representations, and that some defendants were loan officers who submitted fraudulent loan applications. In reliance on the false statements, the lending institutions funded the loans, and some of the defendants then distributed the loan proceeds, as well as collected their standard fees and commissions.
For the conspiracy count, the defendants face a maximum period of imprisonment of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000. For the wire fraud counts, the defendants face a maximum period of imprisonment of 20 years and a maximum fine of $250,000. For the false statement on loan application charges, the defendants face a maximum period of imprisonment of 30 years and a maximum fine of $1,000,000. Charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
At the arraignments, trial dates were set for October 13, 2010, for the 10 and four defendant cases before Chief United States District Judge Susan Oki Mollway and United States District Judge J. Michael Seabright, respectively.
Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, announced the indictments.
The case resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Clare Connors.
Felix Pichardo, 27, Lancaster, California was sentenced to eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $777,000 in relation to a mortgage fraud scheme in which he “purchased” homes in Altadena and Riverside, California. Pichardo pleaded guilty in September, admitting that he used the identities of two victims to obtain mortgage loans for properties that were not for sale.
According to court documents, Pichardo, a licensed real estate agent, and his co-defendant Latrice Shaunte Borders, 29, of Long Beach, participated in two separate fraudulent real estate sales transactions. Pichardo, using identities appropriated from other people, caused loan applications to be submitted to AmTrust Bank in the amounts of $417,000 and $360,000. The loan applications were submitted without the property owner’s knowledge for real estate which was not for sale. The proceeds of the two loans were deposited into bank accounts under the control of Pichardo and Borders. A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Pichardo and Borders in July 2008. In February 2009, Postal Inspectors arrested Pichardo in Boston and he has remained in custody since then. Borders was arrested in November 2008. In July, Borders pleaded guilty to bank fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Wilson on January 4.
In sentencing Pichardo, United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson Wilson cited the “callousness” of the offense, noting that Pichardo sought out elderly vulnerable victims and that he poses a danger to the community.
This case was investigated by the Identity Theft and Economic Crime (ITEC) Task Force, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. Members of ITEC include Postal Inspectors, and agents and detectives from the United States Secret Service, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Probation Department – Special Enforcement Operations