Dino Sisneros, 39; Melissa Sisneros, 40; Michael Quiroz, 49; Chad Ayers, 37; Catherine Tarin, 41; Theresa Coyne, 47; and Timothy Coyne, 49, all residents of Tucson, Arizona, have been indicted and charged with conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud in Tucson, Arizona to obtain loans totaling almost $13.5 million between 2003 and 2007.
As alleged, the defendants knowingly submitted or knowingly caused to be submitted materially false loan applications or other false documents to banks and lending institutions relating to the purchase, refinance, or home equity financing of 18 residential properties. After the fraudulently obtained loan proceeds were received from the lenders, portions of the loan proceeds were diverted into bank accounts under the control of some of the co-conspirators. The total cash back received by the co-conspirators relating to these transactions was approximately $2.9 million. Most of the properties went into foreclosure. Dino Sisneros, Melissa Sisneros, and Michael Quiroz have been arrested. The remaining defendants will be required to appear in federal court for their arraignment.
A conviction for conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for money laundering has a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, or both. A conviction for conspiracy to commit transactional money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A conviction for aggravated identity theft carries a minimum sentence of two years that must be served consecutive to the ultimate sentence imposed relating to the wire fraud or conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges.
An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation preceding the indictment in U.S. v. Sisneros et al. was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations. The prosecution is being handled by Jonathan B. Granoff, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.
U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke announced the indictment.
“These two prosecutions-and others we are pursuing-will demand accountability from a mortgage industry gone adrift, causing great stress to our economy,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke. “We are focused like a laser beam on investigating and prosecuting those who commit mortgage fraud, particularly including the industry professionals who knowingly facilitated it.”
The investigations in these indictments were led by agents from the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI.
“Mortgage fraud has contributed to the collapse of our real estate market in Arizona,” said Dawn Mertz, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. “IRS CI will continue to aggressively pursue those individuals who commit these types of crimes.”
Added FBI Special Agent in Charge Nathan Gray, Phoenix Division: “This indictment signifies the continued commitment by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in combating mortgage fraud. Mortgage fraud is a top criminal priority for the FBI and we will continue to focus on those who conspire to profit from ill gotten gains in the mortgage fraud industry.”