Jaime Jesus Sola Avila, a convicted felon, is wanted for his alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme that operated between Miami, Tampa, and Largo, Florida, in 2007 and 2008.  Avila’s last known residence was in Doral, Florida. He has ties to the Westchester area of Miami, Florida.

Avila allegedly recruited unqualified buyers to purchase condominiums under false and fraudulent pretenses. Additionally, Avila allegedly recruited co-conspirators to falsify documentation in order for unqualified buyers to get approved for mortgages on the condominiums.

On January 17, 2017, a federal arrest warrant was issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami, Florida, after Avila was charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, and bank fraud. Avila was advised of the charges on February 7, 2017, but has since evaded law enforcement.

Aliases:  Jaime Sola; Jaime Jesus Sola; Javier Ignacio Sola

Dates of Birth used:  April 20, 1957; February 1, 1960

Hair:  Gray

Eyes:  Brown

Height:  5’11”

Weight:  180 pounds

Sex:  Male

Race:  White (Hispanic)

Judge Jessica O’Brien, a small-claims judge in Cook County, Illinois, was indicted on allegations that she lied and concealed relevant facts from lenders to obtain more than $1.4 million in mortgages on two South Side investment properties that she purchased and sold between 2004 and 2007.

Source: Cook County judge indicted on mortgage fraud charges – Chicago Tribune

Kimberlee E. Himmell, 62, Massillon, Ohio, is alleged to have defrauded financial institutions out of more than $2 million by having escrow funds on home purchases deposited into her personal account.  Himmell was charged with 18 counts of bank fraud and one count of theft of government funds.

Himmell owned and operated Netwide Title Agency, Inc., located at 3711 Lincoln Way East, Massillon, Ohio. General Title Insurance Company, located in Cleveland, Ohio, was Netwide’s underwriter and responsible for auditing Netwide, according to the information.

Netwide, at the direction of Himmell, began in 2007 instructing all lenders doing business with Netwide as a title agency and utilizing its escrow services to wire all incoming lending proceeds to Himmell’s personal account, instead of Netwide’s corporate account, according to the criminal information filed in the case.

Himmell then used the deposited funds for her own personal use and for Netwide’s operational expenses without disclosing to lenders that she was not holding the funds in escrow, as she represented she would, according to the information.

Himmell closed at least 19 real estate transactions in 2013 and 2014 wherein Netwide received escrow funds and failed to pay or release the funds to the prior owner’s pre-existing mortgage. This causes financial losses to lenders and/or sellers of homes in Richmond Heights, North Canton, Willowick, Concord, Strongsville, Newbury, Brunswick, Wadsworth, Medina, Painesville, Parma, Akron, Twinsburg, Brecksville and Millersburg, Ohio according to the information.

Netwide’s underwriter, General Title, was contractually obligated to make lenders whole. The loss to General Title as a result of Himmell’s conduct was at least $2,111,014, according to the information.

The case was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Bennett following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Sanjiv Kakkar, 55, Saratoga, California, was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $4,208,565.36 in restitution to the victim for wire fraud and making misstatements to a bank.  Kakkar was concited after a twelve-day jury trial ending with a guilty verdict on all counts.

The evidence at trial demonstrated Kakkar presented false information to a bank in connection with refinancing a hotel property he owned in Boulder Creek, California.  In November of 2008, Kakkar sought to secure a $6 million loan to refinance the Brookdale Inn and Spa.  In connection with the loan, he submitted bogus documents to a bank, including falsified income information and tax returns, which overstated his business income.  Kakkar also did not comply with his continuing obligation under the terms of the loan to provide the bank with updated financial records and further tax documents.  Further, between January and June 2009, Kakkar submitted false and fraudulent documents to an escrow company.  Kakkar induced the escrow company to advance hundreds of thousands of dollars in wire progress payments that were earmarked for reimbursement of construction costs.

A federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment against Kakkar on June 2, 2016, charging him with one count of making misstatements to a bank, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014, and six counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343.  On November 8, 2016, a jury found Kakkar guilty of all the charges presented in the superseding indictment.

In addition to the prison term, and restitution, Kakkar was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and to serve three years of supervised release.  Kakkar currently is released on bond and has been ordered to surrender on or before June 22, 2017, to begin serving his sentence.

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Edward J. Davila, U.S. District Judge.  U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder announced the sentence.Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amie Rooney and Maia Perez are prosecuting the case with assistance from Nina Burney and Elise Etter.  The case is the result of an investigation by the ATF.

Jason J. Keating, 38, Toledo, Ohio, was sentenced to nine years in prison and Christopher J. Howder, 40, Perrysburg, Ohio, was sentenced to seven years in prison in after  stealing more than $1.1 million from hundreds of people through a fraudulent loan-modification scheme,

Keating was ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution while Howder was ordered to pay $561,000 in restitution.

Both pleaded guilty last year to charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and multiple counts of mail fraud and wire fraud.

Keating and Howder worked at Making Home Affordable USA (MHAUSA) from 120 10th Street, Toledo, Ohio where Keating was self-described president and Howder was the self-described underwriting manager.

According to court documents filed in the case:

The company used various names but homeowners were told MHAUSA had a very high rate of success and that customers could achieve modified interest rates as low as 2 percent.

Prospective participants were told there was a flat fee for service, generally between $495 and $795. Participants were told to stop making monthly mortgage payments to their lenders and instead to pay a percentage of their mortgage to MHAUSA.

Participants were told MHAUSA would hold these payments in a “stimulus reserve” account to demonstrate the participants could reliably make payments, and that once the loans were modified, the money would be turned over to the lenders.

The money obtained through the fraud was spent on concessions at professional sports venues, restaurants, cash withdrawals, gentlemen’s clubs, a tanning salon, a Las Vegas hotel, a jewelry store and a lingerie store.

These defendants took more than $1 million from people struggling to hold onto their homes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja for Ohio.

They used money obtained through fraud to pay for expensive restaurants and vacations,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office.

The investigating agency in this case is the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General. The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Gene Crawford.

Alejandro E. Mayendía-Blanco was sentenced to serve 21 months of imprisonment for mortgage fraud, five years of supervised release, pay a fine of $50,000, and ordered to pay restitution of $98,666.  Mayendía-Blanco pled guilty on August 12, 2016.

Mayendía-Blanco was arrested on May 29, 2015, on charges of defrauding First Equity Mortgage Bankers, Inc. (FEBMI) in connection with a loan application. On October 3, 2008, the defendant participated in a real estate transaction as the seller of real property located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As part of the transaction, the defendant, along with co-defendant Orlando Mayendía represented that Orlando Mayendía was going to contribute $48,381.10 towards the purchase of the property. At the time that the defendant and Orlando Mayendía made this representation to FEBMI they knew it to be false, since the defendant had agreed to contribute the $48,381.10 to the purchaser, Orlando Mayendía, after the sale. Thus, the proceeds of the contribution from the borrower, Orlando Mayendía were the sales proceeds provided to Alejandro Mayendía.

We are committed to bringing to justice those involved in federal financial crimes in Puerto Rico,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Velez, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, in announcing the sentence. “The US Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate and prosecute financial crimes and ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate them, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.”

Mayendía-Blanco was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Francisco A. Besosa. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Cannon and Mariana E. Bauzá prosecuted the case.

Joseph Atias, 52, Great Neck, New York, and Sofia Atias, 47, Great Neck, New York were convicted of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and Medicaid fraud by a jury in federal court in Central Islip., New York. The fraud was designed to, and did, defraud Bank of America of over half a million dollars.  The defendants face penalties of up to 35 years’ imprisonment, the forfeiture of $560,000, and restitution of over $700,000.  After the verdicts, Joseph Atias was remanded to custody pending sentencing by United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley.

The defendants were convicted of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with the sale of property adjacent to Sacred Heart Academy for $925,000, after the defendants had sold the property in a short sale for $480,000 to discharge their mortgage debt.  In the short sale process, the defendants and a co-conspirator, an attorney who pleaded guilty and testified against the defendants at trial, concealed the offer from Sacred Heart Academy from Bank of America.  In the short sale process, the defendants submitted a fraudulent contract of sale and other documents with false statements to Bank of America, and obtained approval of a short sale, wherein the proceeds from the sale of the property were less than the total amount of the mortgages on the property.  The defendants submitted these documents to Bank of America, falsely representing that there were no funds to pay the mortgages when, in fact, the defendants knew that Sacred Heart Academy, a high school in Hempstead, New York, had offered to buy the property for an amount sufficient to cover the mortgages on the property.  To accomplish the fraudulent short sale scheme, the defendants used a relative as a straw buyer of the property to create the appearance of an arms-length sale.  Shortly after that sale, the defendant’s straw buyer sold the property to Sacred Heart Academy for approximately half a million dollars in profit.

Regarding the Medicaid fraud count conviction, the jury found the defendants guilty of theft of government funds in connection with their receipt of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid funds from 2009-2015.  The defendants concealed their self-employment from Medicaid, as well as their available cash resources, including trust fund monies, an inheritance and the $465,000 in proceeds from the above bank fraud, in order to continue on Medicaid, which paid the defendants approximately $2,500 per month.

The convictions were announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.

Through a web of lies and false documentation, these defendants stole more than half a million dollars from Bank of America and from Medicaid, which they used to line their own pockets,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde.  “The fine work of the FBI to bring these defendants to account for these crimes sends a clear message to anyone who contemplates engaging in mortgage fraud or Medicaid fraud: Do not even attempt it, because you will be caught and held responsible.”  Ms. Rohde extended her grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency responsible for leading the government’s investigation.

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charles P. Kelly and Burton T. Ryan, Jr. of the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.

Tommy Rudy Habibe-Arias was charged in a one count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico, with making false statements in an application for a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loan (commonly known as a “Reverse Mortgage”).

According to the indictment, from on or about September 2009 until on or about November 2009, defendant Tommy Rudy Habibe-Arias knowingly made or caused to be made material false statements to a mortgage lending institution named Master Mortgage Corporation, for the purpose of influencing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure a Reverse Mortgage loan. Specifically, the false and fraudulent information indicated that said property was the defendant’s principal residence, when at no time since September of 2009, or at any other time, the defendant occupied the property as his “primary residence.” The defendant procured $203,605.55 from a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage loan, which he received illegally.

If convicted, the defendant faces a possible penalty of 30 years in prison and/or a fine of $1,000,000.

Mortgage fraud is a serious issue that affects not just financial institutions but ordinary citizens who may have invested in such financial institutions or who hope to purchase, sell or refinance a home by honestly setting forth their finances,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, in announcing the indictment. “Mortgage lenders provide capital so people can purchase homes, not enrich themselves illegally.”

The U.S. Department Housing & Urban Development- Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG) is conducting the investigation.

The FHA reverse mortgage program enables elderly people to withdraw some of their home’s equity to give them greater financial security and allow them to afford to stay in their home,” said Nadine Gurley, HUD-OIG’s Special Agent-in-Charge for the Atlanta Region. “However, the public needs to be aware that to be eligible for these reverse loans, homeowners must be at least 62 years of age or older; own the property outright or have paid down a considerable amount; and must occupy the property as a principal residence. Our agency encourages anyone with information about waste, fraud or abuse against this program to confidentially report it by calling our San Juan Field Office at (787) 766-5868 or via e-mail at HOTLINE@HUDOIG.GOV (link sends e-mail)

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott H. Anderson.

The nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers today urged Congress to protect the independence of real estate appraisers in the federal program that provides housing loans to military veterans. The Appraisal Institute testified at a Congressional subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill.

The Appraisal Institute specifically addressed a central ordering feature of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Appraiser Fee Panel during its testimony before the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. The hearing was called to address the topic “Assessing VA Approved Appraisers and How to Improve the Program for the 21st Century.”

The Appraisal Institute supports the basic framework of the VA Fee Panel in contrast to what is currently found in the Federal Housing Administration or the private sector,” Appraisal Institute Vice President Stephen S. Wagner, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, told the subcommittee. “By comparison, the structure of the Fee Panel facilitates a greater degree of appraisal independence and represents a much more positive environment for real estate appraisers.”

Veterans Affairs maintains a Fee Panel of approved real estate appraisers who work on behalf of the agency in providing collateral risk assessment in support of the VA Home Loan program. The Fee Panel is directly managed by the VA and consists of a pool of several thousand appraisers who accept VA appraisal assignments on a rotating basis.

Wagner, a former member of the Fee Panel, praised the Veterans Affairs appraisal staff as “some of the most accessible and responsive within the federal government relating to real estate appraisal issues.”

While opposing wholesale changes to overhaul the Fee Panel, the Appraisal Institute offered recommendations to improve the consistency of the VA loan program and to maintain its competitiveness with the private sector:

  • Maintain an independent Fee Panel of VA appraisers;
  • Develop a “stand-by” list of approved VA appraisers;
  • Enhance appraiser recruitment efforts;
  • Encourage lenders to provide better property information at the time of the appraisal assignment; and
  • Address appraiser concerns about unpaid appraisal fees.

Read the Appraisal Institute’s written testimony to the subcommittee.

Dianna Woods, 60, Citrus Heights, California, was sentenced to three years in prison for four counts of making false statements on loan applications.

According to evidence presented at her four-day trial in December 2016, Woods was a licensed real estate salesperson who worked at a company called VLD Realty, doing business as Trade House USA, in the Sacramento area. VLD built and sold houses in residential developments in Sacramento, Carmichael, and Copperopolis, Caifornia. As the housing market began to weaken from 2006 through 2008, VLD sought to sell the houses by offering money to buyers in the form of paying the down payment or giving the buyers money after the transaction, neither of which was disclosed to the lenders.

For her part, Woods purchased two houses based on the undisclosed kickbacks. Further, for the purpose of obtaining mortgage loans to purchase the properties, Woods also signed and submitted loan applications and other documents that contained false statements as to Woods’s income, employment, assets, the purpose of the property, the sales price, and whether the down payment was borrowed. Woods also assisted another buyer in making false statements to the lenders to get loans for the purchase of two properties in the housing developments and falsely verified his employment. The banks suffered nearly $2 million in losses with respect to fraudulent transactions in which Woods was involved.

Woods was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert and the case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shelley Weger and Todd Pickles prosecuted the case.