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MIAMI-DADE MORTGAGE BROKER PLEADS GUILTY TO OBTAINING FRAUDULENT MORTGAGES ON HOUSES PURCHASED IN PALM BEACH AND ST LUCIE COUNTIES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, announce today that defendant Hugo Oliva, 47, of Miami-Dade, has pled guilty to mail fraud and money laundering charges in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme. Sentencing has been scheduled for March 14, 2011, at 11 a.m. before U.S. District Court Jude Jose E. Martinez.

Defendant Oliva was previously charged on July 15, 2010. According to court documents and testimony, this investigation began in May 2006, when law enforcement discovered marijuana grow house operations in numerous homes in Port St. Lucie. During the investigation, many of those homes were linked to co-defendant Manuel Caro. Manuel Caro was charged in 2006 for his participation in the marijuana grow house operation, but fled after being released on bond. He remains a fugitive.

Continued investigation led to the discovery of additional marijuana grow houses in St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties.

According to the superseding indictment, most of these homes were bought with funds obtained through mortgage fraud committed by defendant Hugo Oliva, a mortgage broker, through his company, MBA Mortgage Services, Inc., and his co-defendants, including Sergio Caro. To execute the scheme, the defendants submitted loan applications to mortgage lenders that contained false information, including false bank statements, W2 forms, pay stubs, verifications of deposit and verifications of employment.

The defendants in the mortgage fraud scheme were charged with various counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, drug charges, and laundering drug-related money through the purchase of the homes. On December 13, 2010, defendant Sergio Caro, 37, was sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered him to pay $671,166.36 in restitution to victim mortgage lenders. Two additional co-defendants, Ilan Reyes, 37, and Orlando Dominguez, 44, both of Miami, pled guilty and were each sentenced to probation for a term of 5 years.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Port St. Lucie Police Department, the St. Lucie County Sheriff s Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service for their work on this investigation. The case arose from the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) long-term investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore Cooperstein.

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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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