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