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Mortgage Loan Officer Charged In $10M Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Keith Griffin
Aug 29, 2022
Court Justice

Along with two real estate agents, MLO submitted false info for 30 properties.

A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against a mortgage loan officer and two real estate agents, charging them with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Phillip A. Talbert, U.S. Attorney for Eastern California, announced the indictments of German Antonio Lopez-Velasquez, 55, of Modesto, Calif.; Marko Antonio Lopez, 27, of Modesto, Calif.; and Lisa Marie Santos, 48, of Long Beach, Calif. The trio faces up to three decades in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

According to court documents, Lopez-Velasquez and Lopez, who were both real estate agents, worked with Santos, a mortgage loan officer, to obtain fraudulent mortgage loans for properties based in Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County, Santa Clara County, and elsewhere. The three used false documents, fictional companies, and fictional individuals to obtain mortgage loans for borrowers who were not qualified to receive loans, the indictment alleges. In total, the defendants caused lenders to issue at least 30 loans based on false information with a total principal loan balance exceeding $10 million, it said.

Lopez-Velasquez was also charged with witness tampering. The indictment alleges he attempted to persuade an individual to make false statements to law enforcement officers regarding a mortgage loan under investigation.

The indictment said Santos has been a mortgage loan officer since at least 2003 and had served in management and supervisory positions. The fraud covered a period from at least August 2016 through August 2019.

The mortgage companies affected, according to the indictment, included Caliber Home Loans, Nations Direct, Flagstar Bank, Bay Equity, and Franklin Advantage.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. If convicted, Lopez‑Velasquez faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for witness tampering.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

“The FHFA-OIG is committed to holding accountable those who waste, steal, or abuse the resources of the Government-Sponsored Enterprises regulated by FHFA, which the defendants have been charged with defrauding,” said Jay Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FHFA-OIG, Western Regional Office.

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