Seventeen Individuals Indicted for Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Seventeen individuals have been charged in a 17-count indictment with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and various substantive bank fraud offenses, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1349 and 1344.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Timothy Mowery, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Housing Finance Agent, Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), Southeast Region, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Division, and Juan J. Perez, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), made the announcement.
The following defendants are charged in the indictment:
- Miguel Soto, Jr., 46, of Miami, Florida;
- Hector Raul Santana, 38, of Miami Lakes, Florida;
- Miguel Faraldo, 52, of Miami, Florida;
- Barbara E. Zas, 46, of Miami, Florida;
- Maria Rosa Diaz, 45, of Miami Springs, Florida;
- Heberto Elias Gamboa, 31, of Miami, Florida;
- Michael Jose Gonzalez, 31, of Miami, Florida;
- Jenny Nillo, 50, of Miami, Florida;
- Jaime Jesus Sola Avila, 59, of Miami, Florida;
- Jorge Angel Sola, 31, of Miami, Florida;
- Emily Marie Echavarria, 50, of Miami, Florida;
- Eduardo Cruz Toledo, 50, of Miami, Florida;
- Yanet Huet, 44, of Miami, Florida;
- Carlos Mesa, Jr., 36, of St. Petersburg, Florida;
- Yipsy Rabelo Clavelo, 45, of Pompano Beach, Florida;
- Jose Salazar, 49, of Miami, Florida; and
- Cynthia Velasquez, 39, of Miami, Florida.
According to allegations contained in the indictment:
During 2007 and 2008, the defendants conspired to perpetrate a complex mortgage fraud scheme against various FDIC-insured lenders.
The defendants conspired to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans for unqualified buyers of units in two condominium projects on the west coast of Florida: Portofino at Largo, also known as Indian Palms, in Largo, Florida; and Bayshore Landing, in Tampa, Florida.
Miguel Soto, Jr. was the acting manager of two Florida companies that sold the condominium units to the unqualified buyers: Indian Palms Holdings, LLC, and 5221 Bayshore, LLC. Hector Raul Santana served as the Director of Sales for Indian Palms Holdings, LLC.
Maria Rosa Diaz was the president of Crisvan Investment Group, Inc., a Miami-based mortgage broker business that prepared and submitted the unqualified buyers’ fraudulent loan applications and supporting documents to the lenders.
Miguel Faraldo, Jenny Nillo, Jorge Angel Sola, and Heberto Elias Gamboa operated “marketing companies” that were used to launder the fraudulently obtained loan proceeds and perpetuate the fraud scheme. In particular, Faraldo operated All Florida Marketing, Inc., Nillo and Jorge Sola operated One Stop Consulting Solutions, Inc., and Gamboa operated HHWC Management Group, Inc.
Soto, Santana, Faraldo, Zas, Diaz, Nillo, Jaime Sola, Emily Echavarria, Eduardo Cruz Toledo, and other co-conspirators recruited unqualified buyers to purchase units in Portofino at Largo and Bayshore Landing. These unqualified buyers included Michael Gonzalez, Yanet Huet, Carlos Mesa, Jr., Yipsy Rabelo Clavelo, Jose Salazar, Jorge Sola, and Cynthia Velasquez.
Soto, Santana, Faraldo, Zas, Diaz, Nillo, Jaime Sola, Echavarria, Cruz, and other co-conspirators, made fraudulent statements to unqualified buyers to induce their purchases.
The defendants submitted fraudulent loan applications to induce the lenders to make mortgage loans to the unqualified buyers. The submitted loan applications contained false and fraudulent statements relating to: the borrower’s occupation of, or intent to occupy, the mortgaged property as a residence; the borrower’s employment, income, and assets; the borrower’s liabilities; the borrower’s payment of an earnest money deposit and cash-to-close; the sellers’ payment of kick-backs to the borrowers; and other information that was material to the borrower’s qualifications to borrow money from the lenders and the values of the mortgage properties.
Miguel Soto, Jr., Hector Santana, Maria Diaz and their co-conspirators agreed to submit the unqualified buyers’ fraudulent mortgage loan applications to the lenders through certain mortgage broker firms, including Diaz’s company, Crisvan Investment Group, Inc.
Miguel Soto, Jr. and Hector Santana agreed with one another, and with other co-conspirators, that the settlement agents for the purchase transactions would disburse mortgage loan proceeds for the purchase of condominium units in Portofino at Largo and Bayside Landing, even though the borrowers would not pay the earnest the money deposits and/or cash-to-close required by their loan applications and HUD-1 Settlement Statements.
Miguel Soto, Jr. and Hector Santana agreed with Miguel Faraldo, Jenny Nillo, Jorge Sola, and Heberto Gamboa, and with other co-conspirators, that the settlement agents would use some of the proceeds from certain of the fraudulently obtained mortgage loans to pay a fictitious “marketing fee” to one of the “marketing companies.” Faraldo, Nillo, Sola, and Gamboa would then cause their companies to pay some of those funds to the unqualified buyers as an undisclosed kick-back for buying their units.
If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum term of 30 years’ imprisonment, a $1 million fine, and mandatory restitution, on each count in the indictment.
Mr. Ferrer commends the investigative efforts of the FHFA-OIG, FBI and MDPD. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dwayne E. Williams.
An indictment is a formal charging documents notifying the defendant of the charges. All persons charged by indictment are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.