Archives For Florida

Ricardo Martinez, Coral Gables, Florida was arrested and charged with multiple felony counts which included a scheme to defraud, mortgage fraud, and unlawful promises to provide insider-information.  He is accused of kickback extortion.

Martinez was employed in South Florida as an asset manager for a large financial holdings corporation. Investigators from the FBI and Okaloosa County Sherriff’s Office learned that Martinez tried to extort a local business person to send money in the form of “kickbacks” to Martinez personally from the sale of the corporation’s real estate properties in Okaloosa County, Florida.

During an undercover “sting” operation, Investigators sent funds requested by Martinez to his private address in South Florida.  Martinez accepted the funds personally and he made efforts to conceal the money from all official real estate closing documents. Further, Martinez promised to provide other financial benefits to a local individual in exchange for the same “kick-back” agreement in the future.

The joint effort was successful due to ongoing partnerships between local and Federal authorities targeting fraudulent acts affecting the citizens of Okaloosa County.

Hector Hernandez, real estate developer and owner of a mortgage company, 57, Miami, Florida; Aleida Fontao, co-owner of a mortgage company, 62, Miami, Florida; and Olga Hernandez, senior mortgage underwriter, 58, Lake Mary, Florida, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution in connection with an FHA mortgage fraud scheme involving federally insured mortgages that caused losses of $64 million to the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  Including these defendants, 25 individuals have pleaded guilty to offenses related to this scheme to date..  Hector and Olga Hernandez both pleaded guilty on July 13, 2015, while Fontao pleaded guilty on July 7, 2015.  As part of his plea, Hector Hernandez also agreed to forfeit $8 million, which amounts to his profits from the scheme.

Hector Hernandez’s mortgage company, Great Country Mortgage Bankers, specialized in mortgage loans that were insured by the FHA. Continue Reading…

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…

Richard Michael Colbert, Attorney, Florida, was indicted and charged with conspiracy to commit bank or mail fraud, loan application fraud, theft or embezzlement by a bank officer and money laundering.

The indictment alleges a short sale scheme whereby the owner of property negotiates with the original lender holding the mortgage to sell the property to a person whom the original lender believes is a bona-fide purchase but who is, in fact, a straw buyer.  The straw buyer, who is typically paid for used of his personal identification information and who is assured he will have no responsibility for the property or the new mortgage, negotiates a purchase price substantially less than the amount owed the lender. On the date that the short sale closes, a second sale of the property at an inflated price occurs to a second buyer.  Continue Reading…

Ravindranauth “Ravi” Roopnarine, 55, Guyana, was indicted on charges stemming from his leadership and participation in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme, which resulted in the issuance of more than $50 million in fraudulent mortgage loans.  The co-conspirators then used the proceeds to purchase additional properties, fund pre-existing fraudulent mortgage loans, and pay kickbacks to the straw buyers.

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Julian Martin Gaspar Vazquez, 52, Mexico, was sentenced on May 22, 2015, by United States District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas, to forty-one months imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release for executing a $4 million dollar bank fraud scheme.

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Mark Yaffe, 55, Tampa, Florida, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud admitting his role in misrepresenting the extent of company collateral to Sovereign Bank in order to borrow $35 million.

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David W. Griffin, 44, Lutz, Florida, has been charged with one count of mail fraud, nine counts of bankruptcy fraud, two counts of making a false statement under oath during a bankruptcy proceeding, and one count of aggravated identity theft for his alleged role in a foreclosure rescue scheme.

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Stephen Mayer, 51, Miami, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew to 11 years and 3 months in federal prison for his role in a real estate flipping and equity skimming conspiracy. The Court also ordered him to pay more than $3.1 million in restitution to the affected lenders, and more than $4 million in forfeiture, which were proceeds traceable to the scheme.

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Stephen B. Deluca, 58, Deland, Florida, was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge John Antoon, II to six years and six months in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud wherein he defrauded several lenders using inflated assets to qualify for lines of credit.

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