Archives For Arizona

Michael Quiroz, Tucson, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Raner C. Collins to 36 months in prison.  Quiroz was previously found guilty at trial of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The evidence established that Quiroz, a loan officer and mortgage broker, was involved in a multi-year, multi-million dollar cash-back mortgage fraud conspiracy.  Quiroz and others recruited straw buyers to purchase residential properties at inflated prices and Quiroz also helped the straw buyers fraudulently obtain the loans needed to purchase the properties.  The methods used to obtain the loans included fake lease agreements, fake letters of employment, fake letters of credit, and false statements of intent to occupy a property as a primary residence.  Portions of the fraudulently-obtained mortgages were diverted to the bank accounts of Quiroz’s co-conspirators, who would thereafter send kickbacks to Quiroz.  Many of the properties purchased during the scheme eventually went into foreclosure, and the lenders’ losses relating to Quiroz’s conduct during the conspiracy totaled approximately $2.3 million.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.  The prosecution was handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson.


Rosemary Anton, Phoenix, Arizona, was charged by information in a short sale fraud and pled guilty to one count of conspiracy in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. Sentencing is scheduled for May 8, 2017.

According to the Information, in March 2005, Anton purchased a home located at 3612 East Elm Street, Phoenix, Arizona for $712,000 and obtained two mortgage loans to finance the purchase.

In July 2011, Anton, with the assistance of a real estate agent who is not identified in the information, began trying to sell the property to get her out of the large loan.  Anton and the real estate agent devised a plan whereby Anton would short sell the property to a person who was related to both Anton and the real estate agent.  Anton was to provide all the funds for the relation to purchase the property and Anton would continue to live in the property.  This would allow Anton to stay in the property for half of the amount she originally paid.

Anton and the relation signed a purchase contract with a sales price of $340,000.

As part of the short sale process, they both also signed a “Purchaser Eligibility Certification” which provided that the transaction was arm’s length, that the buyers, sellers and real estate agent did not have a family or business relationship, and there were no agreements by which the seller would remain in the property as tenant or regain ownership.

Anton stated in the short sale package that she had $13,000 in retirement assets when, in fact, she had over $316,000 in retirement assets.

The short sale was approved and completed based on the information and certification submitted.

Anton continued to reside in the property and, less than three years after the short sale, Anton purchased the property from the relation for $340,000, an amount far below the market value of the property in June 2104. The relation received a wire from Anton via the title company for the net proceeds of this sale and, that same day, the real estate agent and relation wired all of the sales proceeds into Anton’s bank account.  Anton then wrote a check to the real estate agent for $90,000. The wires and checks formed the basis of the charges for conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions derived from specified unlawful activity.

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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Zavier Kay Hafiz, Arizona, plead guilty on May 7, 2015 to Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices and was sentenced to six years in prison, followed by another seven years of probation.  In addition, he was ordered to pay $3,554,838.40 in restitution. Hafiz, who was doing business as ZK Group, was charged after an FBI-led investigation revealed his company fraudulently misled nearly forty victims to whom he sold real estate throughout Arizona. Continue Reading…

Julio Cesar Esquivel Reyes, 41, Tolleson, Arizona was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $568,000 in restitution  for orchestrating a mortgage fraud conspiracy that spanned 11 years and resulted in nearly $2 million in losses for mortgage lenders.  According to prosecutors, Reyes recruited family and church members, including two pastors, to commit mortgage fraud, eventually obtaining more than $3 million in loans. Reyes previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo:

“Mortgage fraud is a serious offense that has detrimental effects on the economy as a whole.  The facts of this case are especially egregious because the defendants used their affiliation with a church to further the crime.  This sentence and that of Pastor Tovar send a solid message that those engaging in such actions will be prosecuted and incarcerated.”

Matt Allen, special agent in charge for HSI Arizona, said: Continue Reading…

Paxton Jeffrey Anderson, 44, Montevideo, Minnesota, and Joseph John Plany, 42, Hutto, Texas, were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton to eight years and four years in prison, respectively, and ordered to pay $3,270,425 in restitution. The defendants ran a scam wherein, unbeknownst to the borrowers, they forged and altered draw requests, and other documents, to withdraw money from the construction loans then used that money to buy racehorses and trips to the Kentucky Derby, among other things.  Continue Reading…

Paxton Jeffrey Anderson, 40, and Joseph John Plany, 39, have been convicted after a 12-day trial of 25 counts and 22 counts, respectively, of bank fraud and one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud for their participation in a mortgage fraud scheme.

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Dawn Anderson, Maricopa, Arizona, a real estate broker and owner of Maricopa Properties, LLC, a property management company, was indicted and charged with theft, forgery, and fraud schemes and practices.

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Maria Elena Alvarez, Maricopa County, Arizona, is the subject of a consent judgment that prohibits her from providing mortgage or other consumer loan modification services to Arizona consumers.

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Mariano Vincente Cano, Tuscon, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David C. Bury to 14 months in prison and ordered to pay over $350,000 in restitution for his role in a straw buyer mortgage fraud scheme.

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