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George French Jones, Jr., 50,  Santa Monica, California, pled guilty on December 21, 2018, to mail fraud and identity theft charges in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme involving two waterfront residential properties in Broward County, Florida.

According to information disclosed in open court, in early 2018 Jones identified two residential properties in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which Jones fraudulently pledged as collateral in order to obtain mortgage loans from a private lender.

The two properties were owned by corporate entities that Jones had no affiliation with and which were in fact owned by independent third parties. To execute his fraudulent loan scheme, Jones created fake identification documents and email addresses in order to impersonate officers of the corporate owners of the two properties. Jones then submitted bogus loan applications and other documents to a private lender in which he pretended to be the owners of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida properties. As a result of this scheme, Jones defrauded the private lender out of approximately $1.7 million dollars.

Jones pled guilty to one count of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). At sentencing, Jones faces a maximum possible sentence of 22 years in prison.  He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola on March 1, 2018, at 8:30 a.m.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Browne. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nalina Sombuntham is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of the prosecution.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Daniel Barraza Nevarez, Arizona, has plead guilty to two felony counts of Fraudulent Schemes & Artifices and Money Laundering in connection with an alleged scam designed to defraud homeowners and lenders.

Between November 2017 and February 2018, Nevarez filed a series of fraudulent quit-claim deeds transferring him ownership of single family homes in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Phoenix. Nevarez then attempted to use the victims’ homes as collateral to secure cash loans. Nevarez used a false identity to execute this fraud, but his true identity was discovered through an undercover operation conducted by agents of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and Scottsdale Police Department. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=Daniel+Barraza+Nevarez+

The plea agreement requires Nevarez to pay $21,708.43 in restitution for legal fees incurred by the victims as a result of these crimes. Nevarez will also serve no less than eight months in Maricopa County Jail.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich made the announcement.

Assistant Attorney General Adam J. Schwartz prosecuted the case.

Nevarez will be sentenced on November 8, 2018, at Maricopa County Superior Court.