Archives For Mortgage Fraud

Gary Hughes, 36, San Diego, California, pled guilty to one count of mortgage fraud conspiracy involving bank fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years’ imprisonment.

According to the plea agreement and court proceedings, in 2005, entities controlled by co-conspirators entered into a contract to purchase The Arbors, an apartment complex in Hillsborough County, Florida. The new owners of The Arbors then engaged in a plan to convert the complex from rental to condominium units. Continue Reading…

Sergio Roman Barrientos, 62, Poway, California, was indicted by a federal grand jury in a six-count superseding indictment that charged both Barrientos and Zalathiel Aguila, 42, Fairfield, California.

According to the indictment, Barrientos, Aguila, and Omar Anabo, 53, Vallejo, California, engaged in a foreclosure rescue fraud scheme that began in September 2004 and continued to February 2008. Barrientos and Aguila are charged with conspiracy to commit and the commission of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, bank fraud, and conspiracy to make and making false statements on loan applications. On January 15, 2016, Anobo pleaded guilty to conspiring to make false statements on loan applications (case number 2:16-cr-001 GEB). He is scheduled for sentencing on November 4, 2016. Continue Reading…

Ian Resnick, 41, Abescon, New Jersey was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in a $3 million conspiracy to scam customers by offering phony consulting services to owners of timeshares through the New Jersey-based Vacation Ownership Group LLC.  Resnick was previously convicted in September 2013 of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. He was convicted following a seven-week trial before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman, who imposed the sentence in Camden, New Jersey, federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and the evidence presented at trial: Continue Reading…

Garry Christopher Forsythe, 42, Hendersonville, Tennessee, was sentenced to 33 months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,249,294.80 in restitution and to forfeit the proceeds of his crime.

Forysthe pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in December 2015 in connection with a scheme involving escrow funds held by his real estate closing company, Forsythe Title and Escrow. During the sentencing hearing, evidence established that the company’s escrow accounts developed shortages of more than $2.2 million because Forsythe made inflated or unsupported transfers of funds from the escrow accounts to the company’s operating accounts. Testimony during the hearing also established that, contrary to Forsythe’s position, the escrow shortages were not inadvertently caused by the failure to deposit checks or by bank errors. The evidence demonstrated that, in one instance, funds were transferred from an escrow account at Forsythe Title & Escrow and used for the down payment on a boat purchased by Forsythe.  Evidence also demonstrated that the escrow shortages resulted in bounced checks, delays in scheduled real estate closings, and instances in which borrowers were left with two mortgages because Forsythe Title & Escrow failed to pay financial institutions with funds that had been provided for that purpose.

U.S. District Court Judge Aleta A. Trauger imposed the sentence and it was announced by David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.  The case was investigated by the FBI and the IRS-Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William F. Abely and Cecil W. VanDevender.

Gary Blankenship, 45, St. Petersburg, Florida, was sentenced to eight months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. He pleaded guilty on February 4, 2016.

According to his plea agreement, in 2005, entities controlled by co-conspirators entered into a contract to purchase The Arbors, an apartment complex in Hillsborough County, Florida. The new owners then engaged in a plan to convert the complex from rental apartments to condominium units.

Blankenship’s co-conspirator, Brendan Bolger, aided the developers in the sale of numerous condominium units through his company, Capital Management Guarantee, LLC. In order to induce buyers to purchase units, Bolger created an addendum to the purchase contract offering buyers various incentives, such as rental supplements, money to defray maintenance costs, and a design credit to upgrade the units’ amenities. When the buyers cancelled the design credit within 10 days of signing the addendum, Bolger paid them a kickback from his company’s bank account for the amount of the design credit. Blankenship’s role in the conspiracy as a realtor consisted of marketing The Arbors units by promising buyers undisclosed incentives. In this manner, Bolger, Blankenship and other co-conspirators failed to disclose material facts to buyers’ mortgage lenders about the financing of the condominium sales.

Blankenship was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James S. Moody. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor and Assistant United States Attorney Jay Hoffer.

Aruna Kumari Chopra, 66, of Modesto, today to one year and one day in prison, to be followed by a year of home confinement, for her mail fraud conviction in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme

According to court documents, in 2008, Chopra purchased property on Dale Road, Modesto, California, that she intended to develop into a shopping center to be called “The Plaza at Dale.” She defrauded lenders by filing documents with the Stanislaus County Recorder’s Office that contained forged signatures in an attempt to conceal liens on the property from her lenders. The loans made by the defrauded lenders on the property totaled approximately $8.9 million. Chopra pleaded guilty on November 30, 2015. Continue Reading…

Ligia Sandoval Spafford (Sandoval), 48, Roseville, California, was sentenced  by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley to two years and three months in prison for a scheme to defraud distressed homeowners Sandoval was ordered to self-surrender on June 9, 2016.

Sandoval paid $115,065.00 in restitution, the full amount of restitution ordered by the Court, to compensate the victims for the losses that they incurred as a result from this fraud scheme. In February 2015, Sandoval and her then husband, Martin Wayne Flanders, 51, Roseville, California, pleaded guilty to mail fraud for the fraud scheme. On October 29, 2015, Flanders was sentenced to six years and five months in prison.

In sentencing, Judge Nunley stated: “She knew what was going on and enticed these people to become part of this scheme. They trusted her. … She ruined some peoples’ lives. That she paid restitution does not do anything to take away from the anxiety and fear they [the victims] had at the time that this was occurring. These victims were devastated.Continue Reading…

Joseph Pasquale, 39, Worcester, Massachusetts, to four years and nine months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud. A federal jury found him guilty in January 2016.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Pasquale worked as a real estate sales associate for a brokerage based in Cape Coral, Massachusetts. Between October 2007 and March 2008, he was involved in the negotiation and sale of four condominium units at the Arbors of Carrollwood, to clients in California and Massachusetts. Pasquale engaged in a conspiracy to conceal sales incentives from mortgage lenders, which these clients received from the seller, along with private loans that Pasquale made to the buyer-clients enabling them to bring cash to their respective real estate closings. As a consequence of his actions, Pasquale helped to cause a loss of approximately $937,000 to Wells Fargo Bank when the mortgages involved in the case went into foreclosure.

Pasquale was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich.  The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor and Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.

Stevie McDonald, 41, Winter Haven, Florida was indicted and charged with multiple counts of bank fraud and a conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

According to the indictment, McDonald participated in a conspiracy to defraud federally insured financial institutions in connection with multiple residential mortgage loans made by JP Morgan Chase Bank and Washington Mutual Bank. Along with others, McDonald was involved in the submission of false and fraudulent information to the lenders, which induced the lenders to make the mortgage loans. Subsequently, the recipients of these loans defaulted on those mortgages and the banks sustained losses of approximately $509,221.

If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for each count. The indictment also notifies the defendant that the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of $509,221, the approximate loss amount that the financial institutions sustained in this case.

The unsealing of the indictment was announced by United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III.  The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.

Roscoe Umali, 38, Los Angeles, California; Jefferson Maniscan, 34, Los Angeles, California; Raymund Dacanay, 47, Los Angeles, California; Isaac Perez, 33, Los Angeles, California; and Joshua Johnson, 36, Los Angeles, California;  pleaded guilty for their roles in a nationwide home loan modification scam that defrauded over 400 homeowners out of over $3.8 million.

According to statements of facts filed with their plea agreements, from at least October 2012 through September 2014, the defendants and their co-conspirators targeted struggling homeowners and made a series of misrepresentations to induce those homeowners to make payments of thousands of dollars in exchange for supposed home loan modification assistance.  Operating under the names of fictional companies like “Equity Restoration Group,” the defendants falsely held themselves out as a non-profit organization or as affiliated with a real government program, the “Home Affordable Modification Program” (HAMP), designed to help homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Through mass mailings, phone calls, faxes, and emails with their victims, the defendants convinced homeowners to send them “reinstatement fees” and to make several monthly “trial mortgage payments” to the conspiracy, rather than to the homeowners’ lenders.  The defendants then did nothing to help modify any mortgages.  Instead, they used the victims’ payments for their own personal benefit and to further the fraud scheme. Continue Reading…