News and Press Releases

TWO MIAMI-DADE RESIDENTS CONVICTED IN $21 MILLION MORTGAGE FRAUD SCHEME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2010

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, and J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation announced that on Friday, August 6, 2010, a federal jury in Miami convicted Mayelin Salas, 36, of Miami Springs, and Lucy Segurola, 51, of Miami, for their participation in a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in approximately $21 million in fraudulent loans. Salas and Segurola were found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Salas was also found guilty of mail fraud.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Salas was an employee of State Mortgage Lending, a mortgage lending company in Doral, which was owned and operated by Magile Cruz. Cruz previously pled guilty and was sentenced in January 2009 to 120 months’ imprisonment for her participation in this scheme. Cruz’s other companies included Star Lending Mortgage, Sherley Title Services, Doral Title Services, and Professional Title Express, all in Miami-Dade County.

According to the trial evidence, in 2005, Salas participated in a double HUD scheme through which the defendants created and submitted to Fremont Investment and Loan, a lending institution, false duplicate HUD-Settlement Statement Forms, which grossly inflated the true purchase price of a property that Salas was purchasing. Salas received a $5,000 payment from Cruz for her participation in the scheme.

The evidence at trial established that Lucy Segurola acted as a straw borrower on at least three loans totaling more than one million dollars. Segurola allowed her credit information to be used to apply for these loans knowing that she was not the true borrower and that Cruz would be making the monthly mortgage payments. The loan applications also included false employment verifications, pay stubs, income and funds on deposit, and IRS Forms W-2. Segurola was paid a total of $15,000 for her participation in the scheme.

The defendants face a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years as well as fines and mandatory restitution. Sentencing has been scheduled for October 22, 2010.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Federal-State Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, with special commendation to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, and the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lois Foster-Steers and Kim Selmore.

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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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