Ruben Rojas, 30, Vienna, Virginia, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for leading a mortgage fraud scheme that caused more than $9 million in losses. Rojas was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9.5 million. A lawful permanent resident from Bolivia, Rojas will be turned over to immigration authorities for deportation proceedings following his release from prison.
According to court documents and as previously reported on Mortgage Fraud Blog, Rojas, a real estate agent, was part of a wide-ranging mortgage fraud conspiracy in which he and others secured fraudulent loans for “straw buyers” with good credit to purchase properties for other individuals. Rojas recruited and paid several straw buyers to use their names and credit to secure financing for the properties. The straw buyers signed fraudulent loan applications in order to obtain much larger loans than they were qualified to receive; the loan applications misstated, among other things, the straw buyers’ income, assets, employment, citizenship status, and intent to live in the property. Rojas deposited large sums of money into the straw buyers’ bank accounts, or added the straw buyers to his own bank accounts, to create the appearance that the straw buyers had assets. Rojas also obtained fake bank statements, pay stubs and W-2s to corroborate the false statements in the loan applications.
During the course of the conspiracy, Rojas and his co-conspirators engaged in more than 30 fraudulent property transactions in the Eastern District of Virginia and obtained more than $24 million in mortgage loans to purchase the properties. The straw buyers defaulted on the bulk of the fraudulent loans and the properties either went into foreclosure or were short-sold for size-able losses. As a result, more than 20 banks and lenders suffered losses in excess of $9 million.
Rojas’ sister, Lourdes Rojas Almanza, pled guilty on December 17, 2009, for her role as a loan officer in the conspiracy. Almanza is scheduled for sentencing on June 4, 2010. Litcia Linares pled guilty on January 8, 2010, for her role as a real estate agent in the conspiracy. Linares is scheduled for sentencing on May 13, 2010. Rojas’ brothers, Grovert Rojas and Jaime Nino Rojas, have also been charged in a superseding indictment, along with 10 straw buyers, for their involvement in the conspiracy. One of the straw buyers, Juan De La Cruz Aguayo, pled guilty on March 18, 2010. Aguayo is scheduled for sentencing on June 11, 2010.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Col. David Rohrer, Fairfax County Chief of Police; and Shawn Henry, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. Rojas pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud on December 22, 2009.
“Ruben Rojas was motivated by one thing – greed,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Nearly every home in this scheme is now in foreclosure, causing scores of homeowners to see big drops in their home equity and banks to lose millions. Mortgage fraud continues to be a big threat in this area, and we hope anyone who learns of potential fraud will report it so we can shut it down.”
This case was investigated by the Fairfax County Police Department and FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Charles Connolly and Marla Tusk prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.