Suburban Man Convicted in Second Federal Case
HOUSTON – A 54-year-old Kingwood man has entered a guilty plea to failing to appear in federal court for his conviction related to a Houston-area mortgage fraud scheme, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Oscar Cantalicio Ortiz was previously convicted of conspiring to commit bank, mail and wire fraud. He had been permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing, but was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device secured around his leg as a condition of his release. On April 21, 2017, the device was cut off and left on the side of the road in southwest Houston. His vehicle was later found abandoned in a parking lot in the same area of town.
On April 24, 2017, Ortiz was set to appear before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt for sentencing in the mortgage fraud scheme. He failed show for that hearing.
On Aug. 23, 2017, he turned himself in to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico. Ortiz told the FBI at the Embassy that he was a fugitive from the United States and had decided to flee because he wanted more time to work on a project. He was flown back to Houston the following day.
Upon his arrival, agents noted that Ortiz had changed his appearance by growing facial hair and dying it and his hair red. Ortiz admitted he had purchased a second car to replace the one he abandoned and drove across the border into Mexico where he stayed until his arrest.
While a fugitive, Judge Hoyt imposed a 262-month term of imprisonment for the conspiracy charge in absentia.
He is set for sentencing on the failure to appear charge Feb. 12, 2018. At that time, he faces another possible 10 years in prison. He will remain in prison pending that hearing.
The FBI conducted the investigation of both cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis is prosecuting the cases.