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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

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



    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index
    Release No. 09-144

    December 14, 2009

    LANCASTER REAL ESTATE AGENT SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME

    A Lancaster man was sentenced this afternoon to eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $777,000 in relation to a mortgage fraud scheme in which he “purchased” homes in Altadena and Riverside.

    Felix Pichardo, 27, was sentenced by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson. Pichardo pleaded guilty before Judge Wilson in September, admitting that he used the identities of two victims to obtain mortgage loans for properties that were not for sale.

    In sentencing Pichardo today, Judge Wilson cited the “callousness” of the offense, noting that Pichardo sought out elderly vulnerable victims and that he poses a danger to the community.

    According to court documents, Pichardo, a licensed real estate agent, and his co-defendant Latrice Shaunte Borders, 29, of Long Beach, participated in two separate fraudulent real estate sales transactions. Pichardo, using identities appropriated from other people, caused loan applications to be submitted to AmTrust bank in the amounts of $417,000 and $360,000. The loan applications were submitted without the property owner's knowledge for real estate which was not for sale. The proceeds of the two loans were deposited into bank accounts under the control of Pichardo and Borders.

    A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Pichardo and Borders in July 2008. In February 2009, Postal Inspectors arrested Pichardo in Boston and he has remained in custody since then.

    Borders was arrested in November 2008. In July, Borders pleaded guilty to bank fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Wilson on January 4.

    This case was investigated by the Identity Theft and Economic Crime (ITEC) Task Force, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. Members of ITEC include Postal Inspectors, and agents and detectives from the United States Secret Service, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Probation Department - Special Enforcement Operations Unit.

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    Release No. 09-144
    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index