Archives For Appraisal Fraud

Oscar Cantalicio Ortiz, 53, a contractor who had resided in Kingwood, Texas, prior to becoming a fugitive in this case, was sentenced in absentia to 262 months in prison for his role in a $16 million loan fraud scheme.  Ortiz pleaded guilty June 30, 2016, to conspiring to commit bank, mail and wire fraud. He was set for set for sentencing April 24, 2017, but failed to appear for that hearing.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt further ordered Ortiz to pay $5,462,800 in restitution. At the hearing, the court heard testimony that Ortiz was aware of the previous hearing and that he had cut off his ankle monitor and left it on the side of the road.

He is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the FBI at 713-693-5000.

Seung Min Santillan, aka Suzy, 57, real estate agent, Houston, Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements on a loan application in September 2016. She was previously sentenced to 168 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $5,299,500 in restitution.

Ortiz and Santillan operated a mortgage fraud scheme in which they recruited straw borrowers to purchase residential properties in the Houston, Texas, area. Loans were obtained from lending institutions to purchase these properties in the names and using the credit of the straw borrowers. The lenders were provided materially false information to induce them to fund these residential loans, including fraudulent appraisal reports. The loans were funded and ultimately fell into default when all the mortgage payments were not made as promised.

Ortiz and Santillan utilized several business entities during the execution of the scheme to defraud including Uptown Builders LLC, Americorp Builders LLC, Luxury Quality Homes LLC and Santi Investments. In recruiting straw borrowers during the scheme, the borrowers were told the residential property would be in their name for a short period while Ortiz made modifications to the property prior to reselling the house. Ortiz and Santillan promised the straw borrowers that they would handle all the costs associated with purchasing and holding these properties.

Once the loans to purchase the residence funded, one or more of the business entities Ortiz utilized would receive a large portion of the loan proceeds. This occurred even when the same property was purchased for the second time in the name of a new straw borrower. The defendants were able to take a large portion of the loan proceeds since the value of the residence was inflated with fraudulent appraisal reports.

The sentenced was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis is prosecuting the case.

Michael Lane Prevette, Greensboro, North Carolina, was sentenced to 42 months imprisonment in federal court in connection with loan application and appraisal fraud.

Brian Keith Perdue, appraiser, was sentenced to 5 years probation and ordered to pay $886,749.02 in restitution.

In October of 2016, Prevette pled guilty to count one of an indictment, which charged Conspiracy to Commit Application Fraud.  After Prevette completes the term of imprisonment, he will be on federal supervised release for 3 years and has been ordered to pay $886,749.02 in restitution. United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence imposed the sentence.

Prevette was involved in a scheme in which mortgage lenders were misled when members of the conspiracy caused fraudulent loan packages to be submitted to the lenders. These packages included inflated real estate appraisals which were prepared at Prevette’s direction. These properties were located in the Myrtle Beach area.

United States Attorney Beth Drake made the announcement. The case was investigated by the FBI.  Assistant United States Attorney John C. Potterfield of the Columbia United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.

Anthony Cruz Quitugua, 38, Phoenix, Arizona, was arrested on May 23, 2012, to face charges of mortgage fraud. In May of 2011, a federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a 15-count indictment against Quitugua, which alleges that he defrauded mortgage lenders out of more than $3.5 million dollars.

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Ann Hils, 55, East Hampton, Connecticut, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson to 63 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for operating a real estate appraisal scheme.

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Grady Wayne Fricks, 65, Nashville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges arising out of a scheme to defraud Cornerstone Community Bank, Dalton, Georgia, using false appraisals, settlement statements and misrepresentations to qualify for more than a million dollars in loans.

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Steven Essig, Syracuse, New York, a licensed appraiser and the owner of an appraisal company in Syracuse, pleaded guilty to a felony charge stemming from making false entries in an appraisal report. The falsified report was used to obtain a mortgage as part of a million dollar mortgage fraud scheme.

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Justin Joseph Christenson, 35, Forest Lake, Minnesota, admitted conspiring with Thomas Rosensteel, Robert Scott “Rod” Aslesen, and at least four others to defraud mortgage lenders by falsifying loan applications and related documents. Continue Reading…

Four defendants were sentenced on February 4, 2015, by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Voorhees for their involvement in a consumer and mortgage fraud conspiracy which resulted in multi-million dollar losses for consumers and federal agencies. Continue Reading…

Terri Lynn Johnson, 50, Columbia, Missouri, former branch manager of Landchoice Company, LLC, has been sentenced in federal court for a $576,000 mortgage fraud and embezzlement scheme.

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Richard Stromberg, 50, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 60 months of imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for submitting false loan applications to lenders that included inflated income/assets and appraisals.

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