On Aug. 28, Alex Soria, 65, accused of defrauding distressed homeowners trying to refinance or adjust their home mortgages which occurred between May 2008 and January 2010, pleaded guilty in federal court. He also pleaded guilty to theft of government funds in a separate scheme to illegally collect $208,106 in disability benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration between 1990 and 2010.
Senior U.S. District Judge Lloyd George set a Dec. 11 sentencing for Soria, who is in federal custody. He faces a maximum 30 years in prison and $500,000 fine.
As part of his deal with federal prosecutors, Soria agreed to make full restitution. Prosecutors contend he owes $320,266 - the $208,106 to the government and $112,160 to the victims of the mortgage fraud scheme. Soria, who had worked in the mortgage lending business since about 1970, was indicted in April 2011.
The indictment charged Soria with falsely telling homeowners that he was a loan officer with Amwest Capital and that he could help them get relief with their mortgages through two federal programs. He acknowledged in his plea agreement that he provided homeowners with phony letters saying they were pre-qualified for a new loan and concealed from his clients that he was not licensed to act as a mortgage agent.
When he applied for federal disability benefits in 1990, Soria indicated that cataracts and a kidney condition kept him from working. He acknowledged in his agreement that he continued to collect the benefits long after he returned to work in the mortgage business.
Soria also is facing state charges in a mortgage and foreclosure scam (lasvegrevjl82812)
If he was never licensed as a mortgage agent in Nevada, how did he return to work in the mortgage business.
TEXAS TITLE CO. ATTORNEY CONVICTED OF MORTGAGE FRAUD
On Aug. 29, Lisa Carol Ross, an attorney and escrow officer for Vision Title LLC, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Ross and three others were indicted in 2011 for a scheme to defraud residential mortgage lenders. According to the indictment, the conspirators allegedly used fraudulent documents to help borrowers qualify for mortgage loans to purchase condominium units in a Houston building, as well as residential homes in the Houston area.
The indictment indicates 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. Ross admitted that she arranged for disbursements from the title company to be turned into cash and money orders and secretly distributed to the involved parties.
Ross is currently in custody on unrelated state charges, where she will remain pending sentences in this case by U.S. District Judge Gray Miller on Jan. 25, 2013. At that time, Ross faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The others charged in relation to this case are set to begin trial on Dec. 3. (usattysdtx82912)
Licensed as an attorney, good job and throws it all away. It is difficult to fathom why?
CALIFORNIA RE AGENT PLEADS GUILTY TO MORTGAGE FRAUD
In July 2012 Teresa Rose, a real estate agent, pleaded guilty to taking part in a mortgage scam that caused lenders to lose about $5 million. Rose is one of four charged in connection to a scheme to inflate real estate prices, obtain mortgages fraudulently and skim more than $1.5 million in kickbacks based on an indictment filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego. The other defendants are: Mary Armstrong, an unlicensed mortgage broker who was arrested in Las Vegas; her assistant William Fountain; and Justin Mensen, who authorities said helped by creating fake companies and bank accounts to receive the reported kickbacks.
Rose was an agent at Coldwell Banker in Ramona, Calif., during the alleged incidents in 2006 and 2007, faces one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to launder money. She could face up to a five-year prison sentence and a maximum $250,000 fine. Her sentencing is set for Dec. 3. Rose was terminated from Coldwell Banker Country Realty when the indictment was handed down May 10, said David Siroty, vice president of communications with Coldwell Banker Real Estate.
According to the indictment: Rose and Armstrong scouted for and found properties for sale in Ramona, El Cajon and parts of Washington state. Armstrong would recruit straw buyers for the homes and promise them $10,000 for taking part in what they called investments.
Armstrong falsified buyers' information to obtain 100% financing for the preselected properties. Rose persuaded sellers of the Ramona homes to inflate the sales price by $100,000, money that went to fake construction and development firms. The investigation concluded that the defendants failed to pay the mortgages on the 16 properties identified in court records and they eventually went to foreclosure. (usattysdca72009)
Can a corporate broker be liable to a lender when an agent licensed to the corporate broker commits a real estate crime in the course of agency? An interesting thought.
PHILADELPHIA LO ARRESTED FOR HUD/FHA MORTGAGE FRAUD
On Aug. 20, Satish Suri was arrested on an indictment charging him with bank fraud, false statements on loans, and false statements to the Department of Housing and Urban Development on a Federal Housing Administration-insured loan, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.
The indictment charges that from 2005 to 2008, Suri, a loan officer for Sovereign Bank, Horsham, Pa., knowingly submitted false and fraudulent documents to Sovereign Bank on behalf of borrowers in support of mortgage applications on eight properties. The indictment charges that Sovereign Bank relied on the false documents in approving over $2.375 million in loans and mortgages. Further, according to the indictment, the mortgage on one of the properties was federally insured by HUD.
If convicted of all charges, Suri faces a maximum of 30 years in prison for each bank fraud count, a fine of up to $20.5 million, five years’ supervised release, and a $2,200 special assessment. (usatty82112edpa)