Archives For Mortgage Fraud

Minas Litos, 50, Saint John, Indiana; Adrian Tartareanu, 45, Saint John, Indiana; and Daniela Tartareanu, 44, Saint John, Indiana; were sentenced in federal court by Chief Judge Philip Simon  for conspiracy and wire fraud.

Litos entered a plea of guilty to one count of conspiracy and sixteen counts of wire fraud and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.  The Court will determine whether restitution should be imposed at a later date.

Adrian and Daniela Tartareanu were found guilty by a jury of one count of conspiracy and sixteen counts of wire fraud.  Adrian Tartareanu was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment.  His wife  Daniela Tartareanu was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment.

Minas Litos and Adrian Tartareanu owned Red Brick Investment Properties.  Daniela Tartareanu was the office manager.  They participated in an illegal scheme in which they convinced others to buy homes in Gary, Indiana.  To induce the individuals, the defendants told prospective buyers that they were not required to provide down payment funds, and that the rental income would cover the costs associated with owning rental property.  They concealed from the lenders and title companies that they paid the down payment money on behalf of the buyers.  They also paid kickbacks to the buyers.  The scheme lasted two years and involved 45 fraudulent transactions.    As a result, more than $2.5 million dollars was fraudulently obtained from the lenders with almost all the buyers subsequently defaulting on the loans.  Many of the properties are now vacant or considered a total loss by the lenders.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, David Capp, and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Gary T. Bell and Jill Koster.

Frank Enrique Lleras, 30, Charlotte, North Carolina, the co-founder of a Charlotte-area property investment firm, pleaded guilty to securities fraud and wire fraud, in connection with an investment fraud scheme involving real estate properties.

According to filed court documents and the plea hearing, Lleras was the co-founder, executive vice president and chief investment officer of Optimum Property Investments, LLC (Optimum), an investment company headquartered in Charlotte with purported offices in Miami, Florida, Santiago, Dominican Republic and Barranquilla, Colombia. Lleras admitted in court that from about December 2012 and through 2015, he executed an investment fraud scheme through Optimum, which defrauded at least 20 victims of nearly $3,000,000. According to court records, Lleras induced his victim investors by promoting Optimum as a real estate investment company that made money by purchasing distressed and/or foreclosed real estate properties in Mecklenburg County and elsewhere, and then reselling and and/or leasing those properties. Continue Reading…

Emily Suzanne Vasquez, 47, Inglewood, California, was sentenced in Nevada 12-48 months in prison after being convicted of one count of attempted theft, a category “C” felony. Vasquez was sentenced as a result of a local, state and federal investigation of a complex mortgage fraud scheme. Vasquez was also ordered to pay nearly $53,000 in restitution to her five victims.

Vasquez and other defendants operated a scheme to defraud five homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages and in danger of losing their homes. The victims were lead to believe that Vasquez’ alleged company, California Sky, would perform one or more services, including preventing the foreclosure of their homes, lowering their mortgage payments and refinancing their mortgages and reduce the payment and principal. Vasquez failed to perform any of these services, and all five of her victims lost their homes after paying Vasquez and California Sky more than $50,000.

The consequences for vulnerable homeowners who fall victim to scams like this one are devastating,” said Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt . “My Office will continue to investigate and prosecute frauds like this one to deter future scams and ensure the safety of Nevada’s homeowners.”

This case was investigated by Investigator Jaclyn O’Malley, and was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Eric Nickel.

 

Mohsin Raza, 51, Chantilly, Virginia, along with his wife, Humaira Iqbal, 39, Chantilly, Virginia, and her two brothers, Farukh Iqbal, 41, Chantilly, Virginia, and Mohammad Ali Haider, 33, Chantilly, Virginia, were convicted by a federal jury on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and various counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution.

The defendants were indicted on April 23, 2015.  According to court records and evidence at trial, in 2005, Raza, then employed at Bank of America, was hired by SunTrust Mortgage (STM) as a vice president tasked with opening an office in Annandale, Virginia.  Raza hired his wife, another former loan officer from Bank of America, and her brothers, Farukh Iqbal and Haider, to work as loan officers.   From 2006 until 2007, they falsified loan applications for borrowers and purchased fake tax documents to support the false loan applications.  Sun Trust Mortgage underwriters in Richmond approved the loans based in large part upon the fake documents in the files, and borrowers were given loans to buy homes that they could not afford. Continue Reading…

Cynthia Wallace, 45, Chicago, Illinois was charged with posing as a federal housing representative to scam homeowners out of cash.  Wallace was charged with one count of falsely assuming and pretending to be an officer of the United States.  Last month Wallace posed as an official from the “Federal Housing Authority” and “H.U.D.” in numerous phone calls she placed to Chicago-area homeowners, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  During the calls, Wallace said the federal government would foreclose on the victims’ homes unless they wired money to a location determined by Wallace.

One of Wallace’s intended targets was a 79-year-old woman from the West Side of Chicago, the complaint states.  Two other targets – a husband and wife from south suburban Harvey – wired more than $3,500 to Wallace, according to the complaint. Continue Reading…

Michael Nazarinia, 41, San Diego, California, was sentenced to 9 months in custody for his role in a fraudulent mortgage loan modification business that duped hundreds of struggling homeowners.

The business, known as “Haffar & Associates,” owned by figurehead attorney Mohamed Haffar, recruited new customers using telemarketers who lied to clients in order to induce more than 1,000 people to sign up to pay more than $3.5 million in total.

Nazarinia’s co-conspirator Charles Rose managed a call center staffed with as many as 30 telemarketers, whose job was to recruit new clients.  Rose trained the telemarketers, wrote telemarketing scripts for use on calls with potential clients, wrote form letters for the salespeople to send to potential clients, and recorded his own sales calls for telemarketers to emulate.  Rose pleaded guilty in July, admitting that he and his business partners, including Nazarinia, trained telemarketers to make statements to potential clients that were false, such as the following: Continue Reading…

Michael Yant, 40, Lexington, South Carolina, was sentenced to five months of incarceration, to be followed by five months home confinement,  in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme.   Yant also was ordered to pay almost $270,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that between November 2011 and December 2013, Yant and others committed mortgage fraud on approximately fifteen Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. Specifically, Yant engaged in a prohibited rent-to-own scheme.  Yant collected rent from future buyers and used those funds for the buyer’s down payment at closing. Further, Yant added buyers to other people’s credit accounts as authorized users to enhance the buyer’s credit scores

Yant admitted to falsifying and submitting bank statements of buyers, paying off buyers’ debt and collection accounts, as well as falsifying buyers’ vehicle bills of sale in an effort to forge the origination of the buyer’s down payments. Also, Yant provided forged W-2’s and paystubs for buyers, as well as prepared false employment verifications to conceal the buyer not being an employee of certain businesses.  Further, Yant secured FHA loans for buyers who would not otherwise qualify by paying off the buyers’ debt and collection accounts to increase the buyers’ credit scores.

The case was investigated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Winston Holliday of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.   The sentenced was announced by United States Attorney Bill Nettles.

Jeffrey T. Crothers, 50, Stockton, California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

According to court documents, Crothers, while working for National City Mortgage in Stockton, conspired with at least one other person to defraud National City Bank, which funded the mortgages. In 2006, Crothers submitted a loan application that falsely represented that the loan applicant was the actual borrower, that the loan applicant’s monthly income was higher than it actually was, and that the property being purchased was to be the loan applicant’s primary residence when it was not. The loan applicant was selected because of his good credit, but was unable to make the monthly payments for the loan.

Crothers also submitted a letter that contained a false explanation as to why the loan applicant was purchasing the property. The false letter was used to satisfy a condition for the issuance of the loan. National City Bank sustained a loss of approximately $87,000.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys John K. Vincent and Christiaan H. Highsmith are prosecuting the case.  The plea was announced by United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.

Crothers is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on May 20, 2016. Crothers faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Angelo Alleca, 46, Buffalo, New York, and Mark Morrow, 54, Cincinnati, Ohio, were arraigned on charges of orchestrating a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme.  The Defendants marketed several funds that were supposed to invest in certain assets/investments, such as hedge funds managed by a professional money manager of mortgage debt.  According to the new indictment, they instead used the money to pay redemptions to earlier investors, to acquire and operate several businesses, and to pay personal expenses.

According to U.S. Attorney John Horn, the indictment, and other information presented in court: From on or about 2004 until 2012,  Alleca acted as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Summit Wealth Management, an investment adviser headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. During that time, Alleca started several funds and falsely misrepresented that money would be invested in hedge funds and debt securities and managed by professional investment managers. Continue Reading…

Thomas Franklin Tarbutton, 56, Newport Beach, California, a hard money lender, was convicted by a jury of embezzling over $3 million from investors in a Ponzi real estate-mortgage investment fraud scheme.

Between 2004 and 2010, Tarbutton operated Villa Capital Inc. as a “hard money” lender who solicited money from private investors for borrowers looking for funds from non-bank lenders. The defendant defrauded eleven people in a Ponzi real estate mortgage investment fraud scheme. Continue Reading…