A Miami title agent and former mortgage broker was found guilty late yesterday, Feb. 4, 2013, for her role in a “reverse mortgage” fraud scheme in connection with a loan worth more than $400,000, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida.
After a six-day jury trial before the Honorable Richard W. Goldberg, sitting by designation in the Southern District of Florida, a federal jury convicted Yesenia Pouparina (aka Yesenia Campos), 40, of four counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud for her role in securing a fraudulent Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), commonly referred to as a reverse mortgage loan, and making false representations related to the occupancy of the property and its subsequent “short sale.” A HECM is a federally insured loan that enables older Americans to withdraw equity from a home so they can remain independent and financially secure. The jury also found that three bank accounts controlled by the defendant, which were seized by the government during the course of the investigation, should be forfeited.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Pouparina, a licensed title agent in the state of Florida, devised a scheme to obtain a reverse mortgage loan on her own property in the name of her mother, an individual who failed to meet the requirements of the HECM program. Pouparina submitted to a lending institution a false loan application and doctored records in support of that application, misrepresenting her mother’s eligibility to participate in the HECM program. Pouparina acted as the title agent for the loan and disbursed the loan proceeds directly to her own personal bank accounts. Pouparina also enriched herself by collecting fees generated by the loan, and also profited by using the loan proceeds in connection with her business as a “hard money lender” in other mortgage deals.
Judge Goldberg ordered Pouparina to surrender to the U.S. Marshals on Feb. 20, 2013. At sentencing, currently scheduled for May 9, 2013, Pouparina faces a maximum potential penalty per count of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the net gain or loss from the offense.
This case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Trial Attorneys Sandra L. Moser and Mary Ann McCarthy of the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
This conviction is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants, including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.