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Press Release

Final Defendant Convicted In Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

HOUSTON – Houston businessman Tony David Maldonado, 33, of Houston, has pleaded guilty in relation to a scheme to defraud residential mortgage lenders of more than $22 million in loans, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz. Three others have already been convicted in the scheme, including attorney and former mortgage loan officer Buffy Marie Lawrence, Houston businessman Walter Ryan Macapaz and attorney and former title company escrow officer Lisa Carol Ross.

All pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Ross, 51, of Missouri City, was convicted in August 2012, while Lawrence, 41, and Macapaz, 35, both of Houston, pleaded guilty last Friday, April 19.

All were indicted in 2011 for a scheme to defraud residential mortgage lenders. The conspirators used fraudulent documents to help borrowers qualify for mortgage loans to purchase condominium units in the Commerce Towers building located on Main Street in downtown Houston as well as residential homes in the Houston area. The documents had false and misleading information about the borrowers’ income, assets, liabilities, employment status, bank deposits, rental payments, intent to use properties as a primary residence and source of funds used to close the real estate transactions. 

Lawrence and Macapaz admitted they knowingly arranged for borrowers to submit the false documents to mortgage lenders in order to obtain loans, while Maldonado has now admitted he knowingly created some of the false documentation.

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller, who accepted all the pleas, has sentencing for Maldonado, Lawrence and Macapaz are set for Sept. 13, 2013. Lawrence, Macapaz and Maldonado were permitted to remain on bond pending their hearings. Ross is currently in custody on unrelated state charges where she will remain pending sentencing in this case by Judge Miller on May 17, 2013. They each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI, IRS-CI, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General and Houston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney John Lewis is prosecuting the case.

Updated April 30, 2015