An Illinois grand jury returned a thirty-five count indictment charging conspiracy to defraud HUD in connection with a fraud for commission scheme. The following five people allegedly defrauded the federal government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Rhonda Torossian, 44, Rockford, Illinois; alleged to have been employed as a loan officer by Prism Mortgage, 4960 East State Street, Rockford, Illinois (which changed its name to RBC Mortgage Company in 2002);
Cesar Arenas, 42, Rockford, Illinois, alleged to have been a real estate agent in a realty firm in Rockford, Illinois;
Nancy Rodriguez, 34, Rockford, Illinois, alleged to have worked for Prism/RBC as assistant to Torossian;
Raul Raygoza, 36, Rockford, Illinois, alleged to have owned and operated “Friends Furniture,” a Rockford, Illinois furniture store, along with Quintero; and
Israel Quintero, 39, Rockford, Illinois.
According to the indictment, Arenas would refer real estate customers to Torossian to obtain FHA loans for their real estate purchases. As many of these customers did not have valid social security numbers and did not have the required 3% equity investment/ down payment for the properties, Torossian, Arenas and Rodriguez caused false SSNs to be placed on documents submitted to HUD and would create fraudulent official bank checks payable to the customers and as the customers also didn’t have sufficient income to qualify for the mortgage payments, Arenas solicited owners of small business with whom he was acquainted (including Raygoza and Quintero) to sign fraudulent Verification of Employment forms and false credit history letters. Arenas occasionally forged the signatures of small business owners to these documents and would create false W-2′s and paystubs to substantiate the false employment.
The indictment details multiple transactions that occurred between January 2000 and September 2002.
Rodriguez entered a guilty plea on August 25, 2006 to one count of conspiracy. The plea agreement states that Arenas would instruct his customers to obtain a valid SSN from a relative or another person and would then provide the number to Torossian who instructed Rodriguez to alter the customers’ social security cards, pay-stubs and W-2′s by inserted the valid SSN that belonged to the other person. Rodriguez would white out the documents and type in the valid SSN. She admits to creating false social security cards, pay-stubs and W-2′s repeatedly during her employment and Prism/RBC. For customers that did not have the required 3% equity investment, Rodriguez would create fraudulent official bank checks by ‘whiting out’ the payees and amounts on real official checks, typing in the false payees and amounts and then photocopying the checks. She also admits to creating false official bank checks repeatedly during her employment at Prism/RBC.
Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.