Josephine Santana, 57, Miami-Dade County, Florida, a mortgage broker, Jose Rafael Martinez, 36, Miami-Dade County, and Basilio Gomez, 52, Miami-Dade County, pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme at the luxury Jade apartment complex, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349.
All three defendants pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks on August 20, 2012. Sentencing is scheduled for October 29, 2012. At sentencing, the defendants face a possible statutory maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
According to statements made in court, the defendants engaged in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud scheme using straw buyers to purchase residential properties at The Jade apartment complex, Brickell Bay Drive, Miami, Florida. As part of the scheme, the defendants allegedly submitted mortgage loan applications and supporting documents containing false information to lending institutions. The lending institutions relied on these documents to make mortgage loans to the straw buyers to purchase the residential properties.
More specifically, the defendants prepared and submitted to the lenders, false HUD-1 statements with inflated sales prices. The defendants then created a second version of the HUD-1 statements, listing the actual sales prices, which were provided to the seller. To conceal and perpetuate the fraud, the defendants made some payments to the condominium association and made some mortgage payments to the lenders to prevent foreclosure and continue to receive rental income for the units. The defendants allegedly diverted the mortgage fraud proceeds into shell companies for their personal use.
In an indictment unsealed on June 19, 2012, four other defendants were also charged in connection with this scheme, including defendants Andres Mendez, a/k/a “Andy Mendez, Sr.,” 47, Miami-Dade County, Andy Mendez, a/k/a “Andy Mendez, Jr.,” 26, Miami-Dade County, Lilia Casal-Diaz, 42, an attorney, Coral Gables, Florida, Ayadie Carmen Londono, 59, a former real estate broker, Miami, Florida.
In addition, in a separate Criminal Information filed June 19, 2012, co-defendant Raquel (Carrie) Martinez, 49, Miami, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, for her role in creating false paperwork to lend legitimacy to the transactions, in return for kickbacks.
In a related case, defendant Jose Arnaldo Rosario, 55, Miami-Dade County, was sentenced on August 5, 2011 for his role in the scheme. Rosario was sentenced to 46 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. Rosario previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Rosario provided false information to the lending institution and received two kickbacks from the purchase of two apartments. Rosario received a wire transfer of approximately $275,767.84 and another $266,178.07 through bank accounts of shell companies he controlled.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, JosÃ© A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service, Miami Field Office, announced the guilty pleas.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CID and the U.S. Secret Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerrob Duffy.