Archives For Kickbacks

Michael St. Claire, 36, Skaneateles, New York was sentenced to six months in prison, an additional four months of home confinement, and ordered to pay $1,257,945 in restitution in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme which resulted in losses of more than $1 million to lenders. St. Claire previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Continue Reading…

Alberic Okou Agodio, 30, Bethesda, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, arising from a mortgage fraud scheme.  He used the names of immigrants and students, along with false financial information, to obtain approximately $3.8 million in home mortgage loans.  He bought approximately three dozen row houses in Baltimore, all of which are in default or foreclosure. Continue Reading…

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…

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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Joseph Pasquale, 38, Worcester, MA, has been charged with with one count of mortgage fraud conspiracy involving bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years’ imprisonment for each count.

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Alberic Okou Agodio, 30, Bethesda, Maryland, was indicted on charges arising from a mortgage fraud scheme in which he used the names of immigrants and students, along with false financial information, to obtain approximately $3.8 million in home mortgage loans to buy approximately three dozen row houses in Baltimore, Maryland, all of which are in default or foreclosure.

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Five defendants were sentenced in January 2015, for their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme involving straw buyers, kickbacks and bank bribery. Of the 91 individuals charged in Operation Wax House, eighty-nine defendants have either pleaded guilty or have been convicted following trial. The two remaining defendants are international fugitives.

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Guillermo Rincon, 36, Miami, Florida, and Enrique Hernandez, 34, Tampa, Florida, have been indicted and charged with one count of mortgage fraud conspiracy involving mail and bank fraud, and other related substantive charges, for allegedly inflating purchase prices and sharing the proceeds amongst the conspirators.

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Grant McCollough, 38, Kearney, Nebraska, a real estate investor and owner of Tycoon Investments, and his wife, Marisa McCollough, 36, pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lenders and impede the Internal Revenue Service.

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