Jerry Arthur Riggs, Jacqueline Lopez, and Novelette “Faye” Hanse, Broward County, Florida, were charged in a nine count Indictment in connection with their participation in a mortgage fraud scheme.
More specifically, the defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud; three counts of mail fraud; four counts of wire fraud; and one count of making a false statement to a government agency. If convicted, the conspiracy and false statement counts carry a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. The mail fraud and wire fraud counts carry a maximum penalty of twenty years’ imprisonment.
According to the Indictment, the defendants engaged in a scheme to enrich themselves by fraudulently causing real property in Broward County, Florida and Miami-Dade County, Florida to be bought and sold through straw buyers, using identities that had been stolen from unwitting individuals. In order to obtain mortgages on these properties, the defendants allegedly submitted and caused the submission of fraudulent documents to the mortgage lenders. Based on these false documents, the mortgage lenders issued approximately $2,000,000 in loans to the defendants and their co-conspirators.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra in West Palm Beach, Florida. The defendants made their initial appearances this morning before U.S. Magistrate Linnea R. Johnson.
The announcement was made by Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Office, and Al Lamberti, Sheriff, Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Secret Service and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurie E. Rucoba.
An Indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.