3 Indicted for Straw Buyer Scam

Allison Tussey —  August 29, 2011 — Leave a comment

Sean McClendon, 45, West Sacramento, California; Anthony Salcedo, 30, El Dorado Hills, California; and Anthony Williams, 44, Carmichael, California, have been indicted for their roles in a mortgage fraud conspiracy. Williams is also charged with two counts of identity theft.

According to the indictment, between December 2005 and September 2006, McClendon and Williams bought four residential properties from Salcedo or his associates using straw buyers. The properties were in Rocklin, Folsom, Sacramento, and El Dorado Hills. Salcedo paid McClendon and Williams a kickback for finding buyers. McClendon was a loan officer and facilitated the loans for each of the properties and in each instance, the buyer’s income and assets were falsified in order to qualify for the loans. Generally, the true purchase price of the homes was overstated on the loan documents and payments to the straw buyers and the kickbacks were not disclosed to the lenders as part of the purchase or sales agreements.

For two of the properties, the buyer of record was a resident of Milwaukee, Wis., who was unaware that her personal information was being used to purchase homes in the Sacramento area. Williams is charged with two counts of identity theft in relation to these transactions.

McClendon is separately charged with mail fraud in connection with another residential property by one of the same buyers involved in purchasing one of Salcedo‘s properties. All properties involved were foreclosed by the lenders, resulting in losses of more than $1 million.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the indictment.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jean M. Hobler is prosecuting the case.          

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty for mail fraud and the related conspiracy of 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, or both. The penalty for identity theft is two years in prison served concurrent to any sentence for the related mail fraud charges. The actual sentence for each defendant, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mortgage fraud is a priority area for the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit StopFraud.gov.      

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Allison Tussey

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