$40 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme Nabs 20 in Miami – NMP Skip to main content

$40 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme Nabs 20 in Miami

NationalMortgageProfessional.com
Sep 30, 2011

Twenty individuals, including numerous licensed real estate industry professionals, have been charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud in connection with their alleged participation in a $40 million mortgage fraud scheme. According to the indictment, from March 2006 through June 2008, the defendants conspired to submit false loan applications and related documents to multiple banks for the purpose of obtaining approximately $40 million in mortgage loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) resulting in approximately $20 million in losses to the banks. The 25-count indictment charges the following defendants: Alina Rubi of Miami (mortgage broker); Camilo Garcia of Miami (mortgage broker and realtor); Sylvia M. Zagales of Miami Lakes, Fla. (title agent); Ivette Carreno of Miami (bank manager); Pedro Rubi of Miami (mortgage broker); Dianelys Garcia of Miami (mortgage broker and realtor); Luis Pardo Dieguez of Miami (realtor); Galia Fernandez Jr. of Miami (mortgage broker and realtor); Sheena Eizmendiz of Miami; Ivis R. Hernandez of Miami (realtor); Jose Raul Hernandez of Miami (realtor); Yovanis Obregon Jimenez of Key Largo (real estate appraiser); Jose Manuel Pardo of Miami (realtor); Sandra M. Rodriguez of Miami; Mayra Martinez Suarez of Miami (mortgage broker); Laura E. Diaz of Hialeah, Fla.; Juan R. Prieto of Miami (realtor); Flavia E. Perez of Miami (mortgage broker); Jose Antonio Diaz of Miami, and Johny Hernandez of Miami (mortgage broker). The defendants are variously charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud (count one); bank fraud (counts two-21); receipt of gifts for procuring loans (counts 22 and 23); and providing gifts for procuring loans (count 24 and 25). The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of real property and money derived from the fraud. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of up to 30 years in prison on each count. “Even by South Florida fraud standards, today’s prosecution is shocking," said Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. "Never before have we seen so many real estate and bank industry professionals charged in a single indictment. In addition, the defendants’ $40 million fraud spanned two years and resulted in $20 million in actual losses to the victim banks. Our commitment to stomp out mortgage fraud is unwavering. We will continue to prosecute all those involved in fraud, from straw buyers and sellers, all the way up the chain to corrupt bank officials and mortgage brokers.” As part of the scheme, brother and sister team, Alina Rubi and Camilo Garcia used Ivette Carreno, then a manager at Regions Bank, to obtain approval of nearly 200 fraud-based HELOCs. Alina Rubi, Camilo Garcia and his wife, Dianelys Garcia, and other co-defendants prepared false documents, such as proof of employment, tax returns, and property deeds, to support loan applications that were replete with false statements. Other co-defendants, such as Pedro Rubi, Luis Pardo Dieguez, and Ivis Hernandez, prepared mortgage and HELOC loan applications on behalf of unqualified borrowers and buyers. The loan applications and related documents, which were submitted to lenders, contained numerous false statements regarding the borrowers’ and buyers’ employment, income, deposits, assets, liabilities, and other information necessary for lenders to assess their qualifications to borrow money. Some of the false statements included misrepresentations that the borrowers were doctors, dentists, engineers, or engaged in other high-paying professions, with false yearly incomes, sometimes exceeding $300,000. In many instances, the unqualified buyers lied about property ownership, in that they did not even own the properties for which they received the equity lines of credit. On some occasions, the defendants used the HELOC proceeds to later purchase the very properties for which they had obtained the HELOC loans. Alina Rubi, Camilo Garcia, Pedro Rubi, Luis Pardo Dieguez, and Galia Fernandez recruited individuals, and paid others to recruit individuals, to fraudulently obtain mortgage and HELOC loans on the properties. Among the individuals recruited to act as unqualified buyers and borrowers were defendants and co-conspirators Sheena Eizmendiz, Yovanis Obregon Jimenez, Jose Manuel Pardo, Sandra M. Rodriguez, Mayra Martinez Suarez, Laura Diaz, Juan Prieto, Flavia Perez, Jose Antonio Diaz, and Johny Hernandez. To further the fraud scheme, Alina Rubi, Camilo Garcia, and other co-defendants used Silvia Zagales, a title agent, and her company, the Title Services Group, to divide and disburse, among the defendants, millions of dollars in loan proceeds. As part of the closing procedure, Zagales prepared and submitted to lenders documents that falsely stated, among other things, that borrowers supplied their own funds at the closing of the sale transactions; that she had sufficient loan proceeds and cash-to-close funds to cover the disbursements approved by the lender; and that good faith deposits had been provided by borrowers. Zagales and her co-conspirators fraudulently disbursed the loan proceeds to the sellers and others. In some instances, Zagales used the loan proceeds to satisfy the buyers’ cash-to-close obligations, and would often pocket seller proceeds through another company that she owned and operated. In addition, to conceal the fraud and to conduct multiple mortgage loan and HELOC closings with the same properties, Zagales and her co-defendants, in some cases, failed to timely record, and falsely recorded, mortgage deeds and mortgage documentation with State of Florida authorities.
Published
Sep 30, 2011
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