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Maria Del Carmen Rodriguez, Miami, Florida was charged by Information with Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud on August 29, 2016 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

According to the Information, at least as early as January 2007, Juan Carlos Sanchez, operating Homefirst Realty Group, Inc., began marketing the Marina Oaks Condominiums in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  He was given control of the marketing and increased the sales price of the individual condominium properties by an additional $40,000 per unit.  The buyers were promised incentives that would pay all of their closing costs, refund their initial deposits and pay their monthly condominium association dues.  Buyers were advised they would have no out of pocket expenses, would be paid approximately $30,000 to $40,000 after the transaction closed and that they would not receive 1099s for the incentives.

Rodriguez was encourage to purchase several units with promises of incentives and a rental income program that would cover the monthly mortgage payments.  When buyers purchased multiple units, their loan applications were expedited and sent to different lenders to avoid detection and the multiple purchases were not listed on the other loan applications. Rodriguez bought Unit 503 and Unit 511 at SW 18 Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Rodriguez prepared and caused to be prepared false and fraudulent mortgage applications and related documents that were submitted to lenders.  False statements include representations relating to the funds available for closing, occupancy, real property ownership and rental history.  Rodriguez also prepared false HUD-1’s which falsely represented that the buyers met their cash to close obligations.  In fact, Sanchez and other co-conspirators provided the funds to the closing agent on behalf of the buyer.

Once the mortgage proceeds were sent to the closing agent, a portion of the proceeds were disbursed to one of  Sanchez’ companies, specifically Creative Concepts International which was listed on the HUD-1 as the recipient of a large fraudulent lien payoff.  Sanchez and the closing agent would utilize funds received by or intended for Creative Concepts International to pay the closing costs and buyer incentives to Rodriguez.



Antoine Johnson, 40, Davidson, North Carolina was sentenced to 27 months in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud conspiracy involving luxury condominiums in Oak Island, North Carolina.

According to filed court documents and the sentencing hearing, throughout 2007 and 2008,  Johnson, who engaged in the mortgage fraud scheme with seven other co-conspirators, who operated as a promoter for the mortgage fraud conspiracy, controlled A&J Entertainment, Inc. (A&J Entertainment), a company used by the conspiracy to funnel kickbacks derived from the fraudulent scheme and to support false or inflated statements of employment and income in mortgage loan applications.

Court documents show that the co-conspirators perpetrated the scheme by recruiting straw buyers who agreed to buy condominiums in their name but had no intention of living in the properties or making payments to the corresponding mortgage loans.  The builder agreed to sell the units to the conspiracy’s straw buyers at an inflated price, causing the lenders to issue mortgage loans based on the inflated prices.  Then at closing, the closing attorney prepared separate accounting statements instructing the builder to pay the difference between the true price and the inflated price of the condominiums to one or more of the conspirators.

According to court records, the conspirators induced mortgage lenders to issue mortgage loans, by submitting loan packages that contained forged documents and fraudulent information about the buyers’ income and employment.  In some instances, the co-conspirators persuaded and bribed a bank employee to provide a bogus verification of deposit as support for the fraudulently obtained loan.  Over the course of the fraudulent scheme, the conspirators caused a total of loss of approximately $4.5 million involving approximately 20 properties.

Court records indicate that Johnson operated as promoter in the scheme, helping to bring the transactions together, for which he received approximately $200,000 in kickbacks funneled through A&J Entertainment’s bank account.

Johnson waived formal indictment and was charged by information on January 13, 2016 and pled guilty on January 19, 2016.  The factual basis filed with the plea agreement sets forth the details of the scheme.

The other seven defendants involved in this fraudulent scheme were previously sentenced as follows:

  • Robert Davis, Jr., 41, Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced to 46 months in prison and two years of supervised release.Davis operated as a real estate agent for the scheme.
  • Robert Mahaney, Jr., 55, of Ridgeway, South Carolina, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release.Mahaney was a mortgage broker for the conspiracy.
  • Ahmed H. Green, 37, Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and three years of supervised release.Green acted as a promoter and sometimes as a straw buyer for the conspiracy.
  • Carisa L. Majesky, 49, Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced to 24 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.Majesky operated as a real estate agent for the scheme.
  • Somer Bey, 51, Charlotte, North Carolina,  was sentenced to 17 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release.Bey was a real estate agent for the scheme.

    Eric Marlon Davis, 43, Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced to nine months in prison and one year of supervised release, nine months of which in home detention. Davis was a promoter in the scheme.

  • Danielle Anderson, 41, Charlotte, North Carolina, was sentenced to six months in prison and one year of supervised release six months of which in home confinement. Anderson was a bank employee who participated in the scheme.

Johnson will be ordered to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

Johnson was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney. The sentenced was announced by Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina who was joined in the announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division and Miriam Baer, Executive Director of the North Carolina Real Estate Commission.Assistant United States Attorney Maria Vento prosecuted the case.

U.S. Attorney Rose thanked the FBI and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission for their investigation of this case.

Jerrold Fowler, 31, was sentenced to two years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $3,786,815 and to forfeit $7,413,712 and Thursa Raetz, 40, Virginia, was sentenced to two years in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $3,099,224 and to forfeit $7,413,712.  Both recruited participants into a multi-year, multi-property mortgage fraud scheme in Roxbury and Dorchester, Massachusetts.    Continue Reading…

Michael David Scott, real estate developer, 51, Mansfield, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 135 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of over $11,374,201and to forfeit $7,413,712.  In June 2015, Scott pleaded guilty to counts of 32 counts of wire fraud, 14 counts of bank fraud, and 22 counts of money laundering. Continue Reading…

Gary Blankenship, 44, St. Petersburg, Massachusetts was indicted in the Middle District of Florida and charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and bank fraud. The indictment alleges a zero down mortgage fraud for condominiums involving buyer kickbacks and incentives.

According to the indictment 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 then engaged in a plan to convert the complex from rental apartment units to condominium units.

Blankenship’s co-conspirator, Brenden 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 The Arbors 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 real estate agent consisted of marketing The Arbors units by promising buyers that they would not be required to provide any money at closing, actually providing cash for borrowers to close on the units, facilitating the payment of kickbacks to his clients via Capital Management Guarantee, and facilitating the submission of false loan applications to FDIC-insured financial institutions, or their subsidiaries. In this manner, Bolger, Blankenship, and other co-conspirators failed to disclose material facts to the buyers’ mortgage lenders about the financing of the condominium sales.

He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years’ imprisonment for each charge.

Bolger previously pleaded guilty his role in the conspiracy. His sentencing is scheduled for September 18, 2015. 

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor and Assistant United States Attorney Jay Hoffer.


Stavroula Mendez, 68, real estate developer, was sentenced to 135 months in prison; Lazaro Mendez, 42, real estate developer, was sentenced to 108 months in prison; and Marie Mendez, 49, real estate developer, was sentenced to 57 months in prison in connection with their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme that caused losses of $27.8 million.  U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz of the Southern District of Florida also ordered each of the defendants to forfeit $35,252,331 in fraudulent proceeds and to pay $21,240,064 in restitution.  In November 2014, all three defendants were convicted of wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy.  Eleven other co-conspirators were previously convicted of fraud in connection with the scheme. Continue Reading…