Miami man sentenced to five and a half years in prison for running fraudulent cryptocurrency and stock investment scheme
Miami, Florida – This week, a federal district judge sent six South Florida residents and one New Jersey resident to federal prison for their roles in a fraud scheme that involved stealing identities, creating and using fake foreign passports, impersonating homeowners, and falsifying loan documents to trick lenders into providing millions of dollars of mortgage loans on unencumbered residential properties.
The scheme followed a general pattern. First, the fraudsters would identify residential homes with no mortgages, and absent owners, located in high-end South Florida neighborhoods. Next, using the names and other identity information of the true homeowners, the fraudsters created fake passports. Alongside the homeowners’ names, the fraudsters placed photographs of co-conspirators. Some of those co-conspirators appeared at loan closings posing as the homeowners. The fraudsters used the fake passports to apply for mortgage loans from private lenders and to open bank accounts in the homeowners’ names -- accounts into which lenders wired the loan money. They used the stolen money to buy luxury cars, expensive watches, and other items. In total, the scheme drained close to $10 million of equity from South Florida homes.
The prison sentences in this case include:
Charges against other defendants are pending. An indictment is only an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Brian Swain, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office; and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office made the announcement.
USSS Miami, HSI Miami, and Aventura Police Department investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hauser is prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling asset forfeiture.
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 at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case no.: 20-cr-20155.
Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney
Public Affairs Officer