Anthony Salcedo, mortgage broker, 34, Fair Oaks, California, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison for a mortgage fraud scheme. Salcedo was found guilty by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy and four counts of mail fraud after a five-day trial in June 2015.
According to court documents and evidence produced at trial, Anthony Salcedo worked in the real estate industry beginning in 2000 and was licensed as a real estate agent in 2004. He was licensed as a mortgage broker in 2006 and worked for two different mortgage lenders for five years. When selling his personal properties in 2005 and 2006, Salcedo worked with mortgage broker Sean McClendon, 49, Fair Oaks, California, and Anthony Williams, 47, previously of Memphis, Tennessee, to find buyers. As an incentive to complete the sales transactions, Salcedo paid kickbacks to the buyers and to McClendon outside of escrow. Salcedo artificially inflated the value of his properties and paid the kickbacks out of the excess financing paid by the lenders who were deceived as to the true value of the purchases they were underwriting. The kickback payments were never disclosed to the lenders as part of the purchase and sale agreements, and the buyers’ income and assets were falsified in order to qualify for the loans.
In all, approximately $2.6 million in fraudulently obtained loans were involved in the scheme, while Salcedo and his family got out from under their $1.6 million in mortgage debt and made over $600,000 of profit at a time when Salcedo knew the real estate market was slowing down.
Salcedo was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals after the verdict, and has been awaiting sentencing in the Sacramento County Jail since that time.
According to a Sentencing Agreement on file with the Court, after trial the government’s continuing investigation indicated Salcedo might be hiding assets and manufacturing a drug problem in an effort to avoid restitution payments and influence the amount of time he ultimately served in prison. To resolve those issues, Salcedo agreed the Court need not consider his purported drug problem, which may have qualified him for a drug treatment program and a reduction of his sentence. He also agreed to repay the United States Federal Defenders for the costs of his defense, make a $300,000 payment toward a total restitution obligation of over $700,000, and pay a $50,000 fine before sentencing.
In sentencing Salcedo, United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. noted, “You really believed that you were going to beat the system. You’re not smarter than everyone else in the world.”
“Anthony Salcedo was a licensed real estate professional who decided to game the system so that he could profit in the midst of the then looming financial crisis, to which his actions contributed,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “We are gratified by the sentence imposed by the Court, which should serve as notice that mortgage fraud remains a serious offense for which there can and should be severe consequences.”
“Beyond the dishonesty and collusion involved, this is significant because of the exchange of money outside of escrow,” said Thomas McMahon, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Through kickbacks, the defendant and his family managed to avoid $1.6 million in mortgage debt while a few buyers declared bankruptcy and not only lost their investment properties but also their homes. IRS-CI is committed to hold accountable those involved in these types of schemes.”
Co-defendant McClendon pleaded guilty and was sentenced on November 5, 2015, to 20 months in prison. He is expected to begin serving that sentence in January 2016. Co‑defendant Williams pleaded guilty, and is currently serving his sentence of two years and nine months in prison.
The case was the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service‑Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Jean M. Hobler and Marilee Miller prosecuted the case.