News and Press Releases

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR IN MORTGAGE FRAUD CONSPIRACY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), and Michael K. Fithen, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Jose Arnaldo Rosario, of Miami-Dade County, pled guilty today to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. At sentencing, Rosario faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years. Sentencing is scheduled for August 3, 2011 at 1:30 PM in Miami, FL, before U.S. District Judge Jose A. Martinez.

According to the Information, from at least November 2005 to January 1, 2007, Rosario and his coconspirators purchased two properties located at 1331 Brickell Bay Drive (Unit 3003 and Unit 803), Miami, Florida, by obtaining bank loans using false and fraudulent information, phony documentation, and falsely inflated property valuation levels. Rosario and his coconspirators provided the lending institutions with the name of a straw buyer rather than the names of the true purchaser(s); provided false and fraudulent information concerning the intent of the straw buyer to live at the property; and provided false and fraudulent information concerning the employment history and financial resources of the straw buyer.

According to court documents, Rosario and his coconspirators then used these loan funds to purchase the properties using little or no money of their own. A portion of the difference between the amount obtained from the lending institution and the fair market value of the property (or "true price") would be distributed among the conspirators in the form of undisclosed kickbacks. Rosario set up a shell company named Empire Associates to receive the funds initially and to make subsequent transfers. To avoid detection, Rosario would make a limited number of monthly payments on the loan for approximately one year before he stopped making payments altogether and allowed the properties to go into foreclosure. At today's plea hearing, Rosario acknowledged that the loss resulting from his actions is approximately $2.51 million.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and the Secret Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerrob Duffy.

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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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