McAllen Federal Jury Returns Guilty Verdict in Second Chance Lending Scheme
McALLEN, Texas – Two men have been convicted for their roles in a “second chance” mortgage lending scheme, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. A federal jury convicted Luis Antonio Rodriguez, 36, of Mission, and Rogelio Ramos Jr., 36, of Pharr, of conspiracy to commit wire fraud late Friday, May 26, following a seven-day-trial and approximately nine hours of deliberation.
A third defendant - Guadalupe Artemio Gomez, 31, of Mission - pleaded guilty before trial and testified against both Rodriguez and Ramos.
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.
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.
Rodriguez and Ramos defrauded 106 people out of more than $1.8 million in down payments.
Anyone who believes they may be a victim of fraud in relation to this investigation or any other similar crime may contact the FBI at 210-225-6741.
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane presided over the trial and set Rodriguez and Ramos for sentencing on Aug. 8, 2017. Gomez will be sentenced July 25, 2017. All face up face up to up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $1 million fine.
The FBI 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.