News and Press Releases

TEN MIAMI-DADE RESIDENTS CHARGED IN MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2010

Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, and C. Ed Slagle, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, Southeast Region, announced the January 26, 2010 unsealing of an Indictment charging Yamil L. Herrera, 38, of Miami, Alain C. Hernandez, 41, of Miami, Ricelda M. Hernandez, 44, of Miami, Maria G. Herrera, 40, of Miami, Ana G. Blanco, 35, of Hialeah, Samantha Portales, 43, of Miami, Edel Martinez, 37, of Miami, Osiris Garcia, 41,of Miami, Luis R. Martinez, 42, of Hialeah, and Silvio De Paz, 46, of Miami, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, eleven counts of substantive wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, and five counts of substantive bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344.

Through this scheme, the defendants are alleged to have defrauded three financial institutions of more than $24 million in loan proceeds. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years’ for the conspiracy and bank fraud counts, and 20 years’ imprisonment for the wire fraud counts.

More specifically, the Indictment alleges that the defendants were involved in the financing of six residential properties in Miami-Dade County. According to the Indictment, Yamil L. Herrera, Alain C. Hernandez and Ricelda Hernandez would identify properties that could be used to defraud lenders and then recruited friends and family to pose as purchasers of the properties. In addition, through a mortgage brokerage company called “Miami Dade Mortgage Professionals,” Alain C. Hernandez, a licensed mortgage broker, and Ricelda M. Hernandez would prepare loan applications that contained fraudulent statements about the purchasers’ employment, assets and intention to live in the properties. Ricelda M. Hernandez was also acting as a real estate agent.

Among the defendants who acted as straw purchasers for the properties were Maria G. Herrera, Samantha Portales, Edel Martinez, Osiris Garcia, Luis R. Martinez and Silvio De Paz. The defendants conducted all of the real estate closings at Ana G. Blanco’s Trinity Closing Group. Since the defendants were often re-selling or “flipping” the properties among themselves, Blanco would disburse the money owed to the seller before the closing, and the seller would transfer the money to the defendant who was purchasing a property, so that money could be used as a ‘down payment.’ Once the property was purchased, the defendants allegedly arranged to make the mortgage payments until they could flip the property at an inflated purchase price. With the profits made from “flipping” the properties to each other, the defendants continued to buy additional properties and pay outstanding mortgage payments during the scheme. Eventually, the defendants ran out of money, stopped making the loan payments and the properties went into foreclosure. The foreclosures resulted in more than $7 million in losses to Washington Mutual, Impac Lending Group, Loan City and other lenders.

Mr. Sloman commended the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for their work in this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristina Pérez Soto.

An Indictment is only an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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