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Three fugitives on the run since January were taken into custody by federal law enforcement Friday in Houston. They stand accused of mortgage fraud, credit repair fraud, and government loan fraud.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Heather Ann Campos, David Lewis Best Jr., and Stephen Laverne Crabtree on numerous charges for participating in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lending businesses, banks, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Previously indicted were Steven Tetsuya Morizono, 59, Mission Viejo, Calif.; Albert Lugene Lim, 53, Laguna Niguel, Calif.; and Melinda Moreno Munoz, 41; Elvina Buckley, 68; Leslie Edrington, 65; and ShyAnne Edrington, 29, all of Houston.
According to the DOJ, Campos and Best recruited clients for credit repair using company names of KMD Credit, KMD Capital, and Jeff Funding, among others. They are accused of fraudulently “cleaning” their clients’ credit histories by filing false identity-theft reports with the FTC. After fraudulently inflating client credit worthiness, the co-conspirators fraudulently obtained credit cards, disaster loans, and mortgages for themselves and their clients, according to the charges. They were able to accomplish this through false statements and fake documents, law enforcement officials said.
Campos was a mortgage broker and Buckley a real estate agent, while operating as a notary was the responsibility of Munoz, according to the charges. After fraudulently inflating client credit worthiness, the individuals allegedly obtained rental properties to deceptively build a real estate portfolio worth millions of dollars in their clients’ names and profit from rental income. The charges allege Crabtree was a credit-repair client and recruited others, including his family members, and conspired to commit wire fraud.
In addition, law enforcement officials allege they obtained loans from banks and the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and Paycheck Protection Program. They were created in the names of clients, friends, and family members through false statements and fake or altered documents, officials said.
Using the alias Jeff, Morizono was the leader and namesake for the scheme purporting to do business as Jeff Funding, officials said.
If convicted, they each face up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $1 million maximum fine.