Seven people have been charged for their alleged involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme totaling nearly $5 million. The individuals allegedly defrauded lenders by using straw buyers, filing false liens with county officials, laundering money, and inflating prices quoted to lenders.
Lazaro Santiago Cajuso, 48; Hialeah Gardens, Florida; charged with RICO, organized fraud, three counts of grand theft;
Juan Pablo Maya, 48, Orlando, Florida; charged with grand theft;
Ivon Marrero, 40, Hialeah, Florida; charged with grand theft;
Jose-Ricardo Jesus Armas, 35, Miami, Florida; charged with RICO, organized fraud, three counts of grand theft;
Jesus Alberto Gregorio, 52; Hialeah, Florida; charged with grand theft;
Roberto Ramos, Miami, 73; charged with grand theft first degree, organized fraud; and
Remberto Lago, 41, Hialeah, 41; charged with grand theft.
Each of the counts charged is a first degree felony and is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 fine.
This scheme operated with straw buyers who used their names and credit to purchase numerous properties. Once the loan had been secured and records reflected a price well over the actual price paid to the seller, a variety of financial exchanges would take place to make the purchase appear legitimate. The laundered money would then go back to the closing agent’s escrow account and be characterized in the records as the cash brought to the closing by the straw buyer.
Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Miami-Dade Police Department announced the charges.
“By working with the Miami-Dade Police Department, we have stopped this mortgage fraud scheme,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We will continue our efforts to stop mortgage fraud and hold criminals accountable.”
Chief Juan Santana of the Miami-Dade Police Department stated “The Miami-Dade Police Department’s Real Estate Fraud Section continues its vigilance and long-term commitment against those individuals who sought to compromise the integrity of the banking and mortgage industry.”