Eight Defendants Charged in Multi-Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme at Jade Apartment Complex in Miami
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Miami Field Office, announce the unsealing of an indictment charging defendants Andres Mendez, a/k/a “Andy Mendez, Sr.,” 47, of Miami-Dade County, Andy Mendez, a/k/a “Andy Mendez, Jr.,” 26, of Miami-Dade County, Lilia Casal-Diaz, 42, an attorney, of Coral Gables, Ayadie Carmen Londono, 59, a former real estate broker, of Miami, Josephine Santana, 57, a mortgage broker, of Miami-Dade County, Jose Rafael Martinez, 36, of Miami-Dade County, and Basilio Gomez, 52, of Miami-Dade County, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of the proceeds of the fraud, including a sum of $5,677,500.
The defendants made their initial appearances in court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. If convicted, the defendants face a possible statutory maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme using straw buyers to purchase residential properties at The Jade apartment complex on Brickell Bay Drive in Miami. As part of the scheme, the defendants allegedly submitted mortgage loan applications and supporting documents containing false information to lending institutions. The lending institutions relied on these documents to make mortgage loans to the straw buyers to purchase the residential properties.
More specifically, the indictment alleges that the defendants prepared and submitted to the lenders, false HUD-1 statements. The defendants then created a second version of the HUD-1 statements, listing the actual sales prices, which were provided to the seller. To conceal and perpetuate the fraud, the defendants made some payments to the condominium association and made some mortgage payments to the lenders to prevent foreclosure and continue to receive rental income for the units. The defendants allegedly diverted the mortgage fraud proceeds into shell companies for their personal use.
In addition, in a separate Criminal Information filed today, co-defendant Raquel (Carrie) Martinez, 49, of Miami, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, for her role in creating false paperwork to lend legitimacy to the transactions, in return for kickbacks.
In a related case, defendant Jose Arnaldo Rosario, 55, of Miami-Dade County, was sentenced on August 5, 2011 for his role in the scheme. Rosario was sentenced to 46 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Rosario previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Rosario provided false information to the lending institution and received two kickbacks from the purchase of two apartments. Rosario received a wire transfer of approximately $275,767.84 and another $266,178.07 through bank accounts of shell companies he controlled.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CID and the U.S. Secret Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerrob Duffy.
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.