United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner has announced that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Eric Ray Hernandez, Monica Marie Hernandez, and Evelyn Brigget Sanchez, all of Bakersfield, Calif., with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud, and with 15 counts of mail fraud, relating to their alleged operation of a scheme to defraud mortgage lending institutions. The indictment also charges Eric Hernandez and Monica Hernandez with money laundering.
The indictment alleges that in brokering loans for the purchase or refinance of homes, primarily in the Bakersfield, Calif. area, the defendants submitted loan applications to lenders containing false and fraudulent information, and caused lenders to fund mortgage loans based on such fraudulent applications. The indictment further alleges that the defendants caused false statements to be submitted to lenders concerning buyers’ income, assets, and liabilities, buyers’ employment status, and buyers’ intent to occupy the properties as their personal residences. Additionally, the defendants are alleged to have submitted false supporting documentation in support of mortgage loan applications, including false pay stubs, false letters purporting to be from the buyers’ tax accountant, false customer letters purporting to support the buyers’ self-employment status, and false verifications of the buyers’ bank funds on deposit. The indictment alleges that the defendants defrauded lenders of in excess of $2.5 million through this scheme.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), working jointly through the San Joaquin Valley Mortgage Fraud Task Force. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI created the San Joaquin Valley Mortgage Fraud Task Force in 2009 to further the prosecution of mortgage fraud cases arising out of the southern half of the Central Valley. The Task Force is comprised of both federal and local law enforcement agents and prosecutors. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Sherriff.
If convicted of the charges, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, five years' supervised release, and a $1 million fine. The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information, visit http://sacramento.fbi.gov.