News and Press Releases

Loan Officer Pleads Guilty For Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme that Resulted in More than $6.5 Million in Losses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2012

A loan officer for a Florida mortgage company pleaded guilty late yesterday in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Inspector General David A. Montoya announced today.

Alejandro Curbelo, 32, aka Alex Curbelo, of Miami, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard. Curbelo was indicted and arrested on Jan. 24, 2012.

According to court documents, from approximately February 2006 through July 2008, Curbelo was employed as a loan officer for Great Country Mortgage Bankers. In this role, he assisted in the sales and financing of condominium units at two complexes in Florida – Dadeland Place and Pelican Cove on the Bay. The borrowers Curbelo assisted at these two complexes were unqualified to obtain mortgage loans due to insufficient income, high levels of debts and outstanding collections.

Curbelo admitted that he conspired with others to create and submit false and fraudulent Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage loan applications and accompanying documents to a lender on behalf of the unqualified borrowers. Curbelo and others offered the borrowers cash back after closing as an incentive for them to purchase the units. These payments were not disclosed properly during the loan application process. According to court documents, the closing costs were paid on behalf of the borrowers by interstate wire. After the loans closed, the unqualified borrowers failed to meet their monthly mortgage obligations and defaulted on their loans.

According to court documents, when the loans went into foreclosure, HUD, which insured the loans, was required to take title to the units and pay the outstanding loan balances to the lenders. As of the date of the plea agreement, the actual loss related to Curbelo’s conduct that was paid by HUD was more than $6.5 million.

Curbelo is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25, 2012. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

This case was investigated by the HUD Office of Inspector General, as participants in the Miami Mortgage Fraud Strike Force. Trial Attorney Mary Ann McCarthy of the Fraud Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division is prosecuting the case with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

This prosecution is part of efforts under way by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

For more information on the task force, visit www.StopFraud.gov.

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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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