Defendants Charged with Targeting Hispanic Borrowers in Perpetrating Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Allison Tussey —  November 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

Rosita Vilchez, 39, Lima, Peru; Armando Pino, 53, Centerville, Virginia, currently in Peru; Edgar Vilchez, 38, Manassas, Virginia; Lorene Chittenden, 57, Centerville, Virginia; and Rocio Benavides, 28, Manassas, Virginia—have been indicted and charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud affecting a financial institution and operating a continuing financial crimes enterprise.

According to the indictment, between August 2005 and August 2007, the conspiracy generated nearly $7.4 million in fraudulent proceeds.

The indictment alleges that Rosita Vilchez and her brother, Armando Pino, operated a real estate firm (Vilchez & Associates), a title insurance company (Pino Title), and the branch of a loan brokerage business (Mount Vernon Capital Corporation) in Manassas, Virginia, as a continuing financial crimes enterprise. According to the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators submitted fraudulent loan documents that falsified their real estate clients’ income, employment, and assets so that they could obtain loans to buy property through Vilchez & Associates, which received commissions of as much as six percent of the selling price of every home. Many of these transactions involved loans that allegedly were originated fraudulently by Lorene Chittenden, a loan officer who, according to the indictment, received thousands of dollars in loan commissions as a result of the fraud.

The indictment also alleges that the defendants targeted Hispanic clients who were not proficient in spoken or written English and who therefore often were unable to read and were unaware of the false statements made on the loan documents submitted to the lenders on their behalf. According to court filings, the fraudulent loan applications made it possible for the borrowers to qualify for loans they could not afford to repay. Most of these borrowers later lost their homes to foreclosure.

Rosita Vilchez originally was indicted on September 6, 2012, and she remains a fugitive in Peru. On October 31, 2013, the FBI announced a reward of up to $6,000, or up to 15,000 Peruvian soles, for information leading directly to the location and arrest of Rosita Vilchez. Additional information regarding Rosita Vilchez, including a poster with her picture, is available on the FBI’s website at http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wcc/rosita-vilchez/view.

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Fred W. Gibson, Acting Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the FDIC’s Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney James P. Gillis is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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