FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2006
LAKEWOOD REAL ESTATE AGENT SENTENCED FOR FRAUD IN CONNECTION WITH ILLEGAL HOME LOANS TO UNQUALIFIED BUYERS
DENVER - Bill Leone, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, Rebecca J. Kiser, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for Housing and Urban Development, and Terry L. Stuart, Special Agent In Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office, announced that real estate agent WILLIAM E. MENDEZ, age 41, of Denver, was sentenced this morning to serve 49 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel. MENDEZ was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $1,227,081.59 to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Judge Daniel ordered MENDEZ to report to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons by July 10, 2006.
WILLIAM MENDEZ was indicted, along with other members of his Lakewood real estate firm, by a federal grand jury in Denver on September 13, 2005. He pled guilty on March 17, 2006. As part of the plea agreement the defendant agreed that he not work in any facet of real estate, whether as a broker, lender, mortgage banker or investor.
Seven others were indicted for participating in this fraud. Of the seven, all have pled guilty, and two await sentencing.
According to the WILLIAM MENDEZ plea agreement, beginning in 1999, the defendant began operating a real estate agency in Lakewood, Colorado. While running the real estate agency, MENDEZ developed office practices designed to allow him and his other real estate agents and employees to assist clients whom they knew to be illegal aliens or otherwise unqualified to receive home mortgages to purchase homes and obtain home mortgages.
Between January of 2000 and November of 2002, the MENDEZ real estate agency assisted such clients in preparing over 100 false and fraudulent residential home loan applications. These home mortgage applications were insured by HUD through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The defendant also made payments to loan officers to insure the approval of these applications.
Others indicted, and their subsequent dispositions in this case include:
ROGACIANO CALDERA, sentenced to serve 15 months in federal prison, and ordered to pay restitution totaling $80,792 to HUD.
LEONOR MARTINEZ, sentenced to time served, and ordered to pay restitution totaling $35,620 to HUD.
MARIA LIDIA BAEZA, sentenced to time served.
PATRICIA SOEHNGE, sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison, and ordered to pay restitution totaling $41,734 to HUD joint and severely with defendant Nicolas Lopez.
NICOLAS LOPEZ, sentenced to serve 5 years probation, and ordered to pay restitution totaling $40,984 to HUD joint and severely with Patricia Soehnge.
CLAUDIA M. MENDEZ, pled guilty, and is scheduled to be sentenced on 6/21/2006.
BENEDICTA GOMEZ, pled guilty, and is scheduled to be sentenced on 8/24/2006.
The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD OIG), and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS CID) investigated this case.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Kirsch.