Anthony Salcedo, 34, Fair Oaks, California, a loan broker and real estate agent, was found guilty after a five-day trial of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and four counts of mail fraud for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme.
According to court documents and evidence produced at trial, Anthony Salcedo worked in the real estate industry beginning in 2000, was licensed as a real estate agent in 2004 and 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 licensed mortgage broker Sean McClendon, 49, Fair Oaks, 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. The 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.
Ultimately, substantial sums were exchanged outside of escrow as part of this scheme, equaling in one instance as much as 16 percent of the total purchase price of the property. The exchange of money outside of escrow reduces the fair market value of a property to below what is reflected in the contract price and impacts the appraised value of a home. At least two of the buyers declared bankruptcy and lost not only their investment properties, purchased by way of the scheme, but their own homes. 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 at a time when Salcedo knew the real estate market was slowing down.
Co-defendant Sean McClendon pleaded guilty on October 12, 2013, and is awaiting sentencing. Co-defendant Anthony Williams pleaded guilty, was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison, and is currently serving that sentence.
Salcedo is scheduled to be sentenced on September 10, 2015, by Chief United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. The maximum statutory penalty for mail fraud and the related conspiracy is 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, or both. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the verdict.
This case is 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 L. Miller are prosecuting the case.
“Much of the mortgage fraud that was so common in this region during the 2005-2008 timeframe was associated with dishonest real estate and mortgage financing professionals such as Anthony Salcedo and his co-defendants in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “Accordingly, in our continuing effort to restore integrity and confidence to the residential real estate market, we have focused our enforcement efforts on identifying and prosecuting those professionals and the persons who aided and benefited from major mortgage fraud schemes.”
“To those involved in committing mortgage fraud, today’s verdict should send a clear message that this type of activity will have criminal consequences,” said Andrew J. Toth, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “This is a case about dishonesty and collusion fueled by greed. While this verdict cannot reverse the damage caused by the defendants, it highlights the ongoing commitment of IRS-CI and our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those involved in these types of crimes.”