Fraudsters Sentenced in Second Chance Lending Scheme
McALLEN, Texas – Three men have been ordered to prison following their convictions related to a “second chance” mortgage lending scheme, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. A federal jury convicted Luis Antonio Rodriguez, 37, of Mission, and Rogelio Ramos Jr., 37, of Pharr, of conspiracy to commit wire fraud late Friday, May 26, following a seven-day-trial and approximately nine hours of deliberation. Also sentenced today was another co-conspirator - Guadalupe Artemio Gomez, 32, of Mission – who had pleaded guilty prior to trial.
Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ordered Rodriguez to serve a total of 13 years in federal prison, while Ramos received a 90-month term of imprisonment. Gomez received a four-year sentence. At the hearing, the court heard from all three defendants as well as numerous victims who provided testimony that described the substantial harm they and their families suffered as a result of the fraud. The three men were further ordered to serve five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,858, 997.75 in restitution to the victims of the scheme.
All three were accused of operating a “second chance” financing business under the names of T.G. and Wealth, Infinite Properties and Me In 3D, focusing on individuals who were financially unable to apply for traditional home financing. The investigation revealed Gomez, Rodriguez and Ramos conducted business in McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Houston and San Antonio by hiring recruiters to funnel prospective home buyers to Infinite Properties. The homebuyers then gave 10 percent of the purchase price as a down payment to Infinite Properties.
During trial, the jury heard from victims, law enforcement and an FBI forensic accountant who testified that instead of using the down payments as intended, the money was used for personal expenses, trips to Las Vegas and to purchase other real estate.
Gomez testified at trial against Rodriguez and Ramos stating the two men received more than $1 million in the mortgage scheme in 2016.
The defense claimed they had no intent to defraud the victims because they had attempted to get a $10 million loan. The jury was not convinced and found both men guilty as charged.
Previously released on bond, the three men were taken into custody following the sentencing today where they will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FBI, Texas Department of Insurance and police departments in McAllen, Mission and Edinburg conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert L. Guerra Jr. and Andrew Swartz prosecuted the case.