Skip Navigation
    USAO Home Page
    DOJ Seal


    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index
    Release No. 08-008

    January 31, 2008

    SISTERS INDICTED ON MONEY LAUNDERING, WIRE FRAUD CHARGES RELATED TO REAL ESTATE ‘FLIPPING’ SCHEME

    A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has indicted a Los Angeles woman and her sister on money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy charges for submitting home loan financing packages for residential real estate that contained false information and forged signatures. The defendants used the fraudulently obtained proceeds to purchase properties, which they later sold at a profit.

    Maria Sanchez, 34, of Los Angeles, and Beatriz Sanchez, 38, of South Los Angeles, were named in a 14-count indictment returned yesterday afternoon.

    Maria Sanchez, who worked in Lawndale as a loan consultant and real estate agent for Online Financial Services, allegedly submitted home loan financing packages to lenders so she and her sister could buy residential real estate. The loan packages allegedly contained false statements, forged signatures and falsified financial records. Beatriz Sanchez, also known as Beatriz Salcedo, acted as a nominee owner for the properties. After the sisters purchased the residential properties with their fraudulently obtained loans, they sold the properties. Maria Sanchez would receive commissions and fees for the purchase, sale and refinancing of the properties that she and her sister acquired through their fraud scheme.

    From July 2003 through June 2007, the Sanchezes allegedly obtained more than $1.5 million in fraudulently obtained loan proceeds, which they used to purchase four properties in El Monte, Norwalk, Paramount and Los Angeles. In relation to the El Monte property, the indictment alleges that Maria Sanchez caused a wire transfer of nearly $100,000 in illegal drug proceeds from her sister-in-law’s bank account to an escrow company that was used as a down payment for the property.

    In the other three transactions, Beatriz Sanchez was identified as the buyer, and she falsely claimed to have monthly income of at least $7,950. Associates, in exchange for cash payments from Maria Sanchez, verified the inflated salaries.

    Debra D. King, Special Agent in Charge of IRS - Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office, stated: "The indictment of Maria and Beatriz Sanchez on money laundering and wire fraud charges related to their scheme to falsify home loan applications serves to put criminals like these on notice that IRS - Criminal Investigation will use tax and money laundering statutes to investigate and prosecute those individuals who profit from such illegal activity. These types of crimes can create a significant loss of tax revenue, drive buyers into foreclosure, leave lenders burdened with bad loans and neighborhoods with abandoned and deteriorating properties. IRS - CI is committed to pursuing individuals who commit these types of crimes."

    If convicted of all of the crimes specified in the indictment, Maria Sanchez faces a statutory maximum 105 years in federal prison. For her role, Beatriz Sanchez faces a statutory maximum 110 years in prison.

    An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

    This case is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by IRS – Criminal Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    #####

    Release No. 08-008
    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index