Steven Soto, 24, currently in federal custody awaiting trial on unrelated federal fraud charges, Pedro Soto, 44, Springfield, MA, Carmen Soto, 44, Springfield, MA, and Kimberly Litwin, 52, Lynn, MA, were charged with fraud by a federal Grand Jury in connection with a scheme to obtain real estate properties and mortgages on those properties under false pretenses. The four Massachusetts residents were specifically charged in a thirteen-count Indictment with mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The Indictment alleges that in 2006 and 2007, the defendants engaged in a real estate financing fraud scheme that involved filing false and fraudulent documents with the Registry of Deeds. The defendants are charged with using the identities of other persons to obtain mortgage loans under false pretenses and submitting false and fraudulent mortgage loan applications and related documents to lending institutions. The defendants are also charged with diverting loan proceeds for their personal benefit.
According to the Indictment, the objective of the fraud scheme was obtain mortgage financing by giving lenders false information regarding the borrower’s intent to occupy the premises and the borrower’s employment, income, assets, and liabilities. After obtaining the loans, the Indictment alleges, the defendants and the straw buyers recruited by the defendants failed to make payments and the properties went into foreclosure.
If convicted of mail fraud, each defendant faces on each count a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and restitution to the victims of the fraud. If convicted of aggravated identity theft, the defendants face a mandatory additional sentence of two years in prison.
Acting United States Michael K. Loucks and Steven D. Ricciardi, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Secret Service announced the charges. The case was investigated by U.S. Secret Service, in cooperation with the Massachusetts State Police and the Lynn Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John A. Capin of Loucks’ Criminal Division.
The details contained in the Indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.