Lester Soto, of Freehold, N.J., admitted to carrying out two related mortgage fraud conspiracies from September 2006 to May 2008 through a company called Premier Mortgage Services. Soto and conspirators that included fake document creators, a complicit lawyer and paralegal, and numerous loan officers, targeted properties in low-income areas of New Jersey.
After recruiting straw buyers, Soto and others used a variety of fraudulent documents to make it appear as though the straw buyers possessed more assets and earned more money than they really did. These inaccurate documents were then submitted as part of mortgage loan applications to financial institutions.
Based on these applications, the lenders provided mortgage loans for the properties the conspirators targeted. Once the loans were obtained, Soto and his conspirators split the proceeds from the mortgages by using fraudulent settlement statements, which hid the true purposes of the mortgage funds.
Meanwhile, the straw buyers had no intention of paying the mortgages, according to court documents. Therefore, many of the properties entered foreclosure proceedings.
During the scams, Soto acted as a loan officer on certain PMS mortgage loan applications and took a percentage of PMS’ profits. He also employed people to create false documents and put mortgage brokers at PMS in contact with these individuals to produce additional fraudulent documents.
The two counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud are each punishable by a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. Soto will be sentenced in February.