Archives For Florida

Geo Geovanni, 50, Moultrie, Georgia has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Geovanni worked as a real estate broker who owned his own brokerage firm based in Orlando, Florida. Between May and August 2008, Geovanni sold condominium units at The Landing, Altamonte Springs, Florida. Geovanni engaged in a conspiracy to conceal from mortgage lenders sales incentives that he provided to the buyers. These undisclosed incentives included making the buyers’ down payments and paying kickbacks after closing. As a result of his actions, Geovanni helped cause the loss of approximately $736,000 to the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac), and JP Morgan Chase Bank when the mortgages involved in the fraudulent transactions went into foreclosure. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=Geo+Geovanni

As part of his sentence, the court also entered a money judgment of $56,984.34, the proceeds of the fraud scheme. A federal jury found Geovanni guilty on November 29, 2018.

This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Chris Poor and Joseph Capone.

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.

Hollie Darlene Dustin, 60, Punta Gorda, Florida, was sentenced today to six months in federal prison for committing wire fraud against the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae).

According to court documents, Dustin, a licensed real estate broker, owned Home Choice Real Estate (HCRE), a company that contracted with Fannie Mae to manage and perform preservation services on various Fannie Mae foreclosed properties. As part of a Master Listing Agreement with Fannie Mae, Dustin’s company was prohibited from using any vendors that she controlled to perform preservation services on Fannie Mae properties. Dustin fraudulently used ProPreserve, a company that she controlled, to perform preservation services on the properties without Fannie Mae’s knowledge or consent. She then submitted approximately 550 fraudulent ProPreserve invoices for HCRE, which Fannie Mae paid.

Dustin also created inflated ProPreserve invoices for work already performed by other vendors, then submitted those false invoices to Fannie Mae for payment.

Dustin used interstate wires to fraudulently submit the invoices to Fannie Mae.

The court also ordered Dustin to serve a term of three years of supervised release, 100 hours of community service, and to pay restitution in the amount of $34,001.25. As part of her sentence, the court also entered a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $34,001.25, the proceeds of the wire fraud. Dustin had pleaded guilty on June 19, 2018. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=Hollie+Darlene+Dustin

This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey F. Michelland.

Geo Geovanni, 49, Moultrie, Georgia was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and three counts of bank fraud.

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Geovanni was a real estate broker who owned his own brokerage firm based in Orlando, Florida. Between May and August 2008, Geovanni sold condominium units to buyers at The Landing, located in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Geovanni engaged in a conspiracy to conceal from mortgage lenders sales incentives that he provided to the buyers. These undisclosed incentives included making the buyers’ down payments and paying kickbacks after closing. As a result of his actions, Geovanni helped cause the loss of approximately $761,150 to JP Morgan Chase Bank and Wells Fargo Bank when the mortgages involved in the fraudulent transactions went into foreclosure.

He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years’ imprisonment for each count. His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for February 25, 2019.

United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor and Special Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Capone.

 

Jason Anthony Martinez, 38, Tampa, Florida has been sentenced to an additional three months’ imprisonment for a total of 27 months’ imprisonment for lying to the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Financial Litigation Unit and U.S. Probation to avoid his restitution obligation in a mortgage-related fraud case.

According to the plea agreement, Martinez was previously convicted and ordered to pay $3,008,551.01 in restitution. On October 24, 2017, Martinez signed and submitted a Financial Disclosure Form, upon which he falsely claimed a net income that was approximately half his actual net income and failed to disclose a number of credit accounts. This false information materially and adversely affected the resulting restitution-related payment calculations in his prior case. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=Jason+Anthony+Martinez

In addition, he was sentenced to an additional two years of supervised release, extending his post-incarceration supervision to a total of five years.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, recognizing the critical importance of recovering restitution for victims, has a Financial Litigation Unit that collects criminal monetary penalties, including restitution, imposed on criminal defendants by the U.S. District Court as part of his or her sentence. One of the tools used by the Unit to collect restitution is the Financial Disclosure Statement, which requires defendants to truthfully disclose, among other things, their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Section. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.

Universal American Mortgage Company, LLC (UAMC) has agreed to pay the United States $13.2 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by falsely certifying that it complied with Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance requirements in connection with certain mortgages.  UAMC is a mortgage lender headquartered in Miami, Florida, doing business across the country, including in the Western District of Washington.

The United States alleged that between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2011, UAMC knowingly submitted loans for FHA insurance that did not qualify.  The United States further alleged that UAMC improperly incentivized underwriters and knowingly failed to perform quality control reviews, which violated HUD requirements and contributed to UAMC’s submission of defective loans.

During the period covered by the settlement, UAMC participated as a direct endorsement lender (DEL) in the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) FHA insurance program.  A DEL has the authority to originate, underwrite and endorse mortgages for FHA insurance.  If a DEL approves a mortgage loan for FHA insurance and the loan later defaults, the holder of the loan may submit an insurance claim to HUD, FHA’s parent agency, for the losses resulting from the defaulted loan.  Under the DEL program, the FHA does not review a loan for compliance with FHA requirements before it is endorsed for FHA insurance.  DELs are therefore required to follow program rules designed to ensure that they are properly underwriting and certifying mortgages for FHA insurance and to maintain a quality control program that can prevent and correct deficiencies in their underwriting practices.

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.

Mortgage lenders may not ignore material FHA requirements designed to reduce the risk that borrowers will be unable to afford their homes and federal funds will be wasted,” said Assistant Attorney General Joseph H. Hunt for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “We will hold accountable entities that knowingly fail to follow important federal program requirements.”

“In a quest for profits, mortgage companies have ignored important lending standards” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Annette L. Hayes.  “Not only does this harm the borrowers leaving them over their heads in debt and underwater on their mortgages, it harms taxpayers because the mortgages are backed by government insurance.  This settlement should serve as a warning to other lenders to diligently follow the rules.

United States Attorney Joseph Harrington for the Eastern District of Washington said, “FHA mortgages are vital to first-time homebuyers and to families whose credit and assets were damaged by the 2008 economic crisis.  FHA underwriting and other requirements are critical to safeguarding the integrity of the public money used to operate this important program.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that mortgage lenders and others who profit from this program, while ignoring its rules, will be held accountable.

One of our principle responsibilities is to protect and ensure the integrity of federal housing programs for the benefit of all Americans,” said Jeremy M. Kirkland, Acting Deputy Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General.  “This settlement demonstrates our resolve and should signal to irresponsible lenders that this conduct will not be tolerated.

FHA depends upon the lenders we do business with to apply our standards and to truthfully certify that they’ve done so,” said David Woll, HUD’s Deputy General Counsel for Enforcement.  “Working with our federal partners, HUD will enforce these lending standards so we can protect families from preventable foreclosure and to protect FHA from unnecessary losses.

The settlement resolves allegations originally brought by Kat Nguyen-Seligman, a former employee of a related UAMC entity, in a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which allows private parties to bring suit on behalf of the federal government and to share in any recovery.  The whistleblower will receive $1,980,000 as her share of the federal government’s recovery in this case.

This matter was handled on behalf of the government by the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Washington and Western District of Washington, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General.  case is captioned United States ex rel. Kat Nguyen-Selgiman v. Lennar Corporation, Universal American Mortgage Company, LLC, and Eagle Home Mortgage of California, Inc., 14-cv-1435 (W.D. Wash.).  The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no admission of liability.

The settlement agreement is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Kayla Stahman.

Jason Anthony Martinez, 38, Tampa, Florida, has plead guilty to making false statements to the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Financial Litigation Unit.

According to the plea agreement, Martinez was previously convicted in a mortgage-related fraud case and ordered to pay $3,008,551.01 in restitution. On October 24, 2017, Martinez signed and submitted a Financial Disclosure Form, upon which he falsely claimed a net income that was approximately half his actual net income and failed to disclose a number of credit accounts. This false information materially and adversely affected the resulting restitution-related payment calculations in his prior case.

He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Chapa Lopez stated, “Pursuant to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004, federal crime victims have the right to full and timely restitution. Our Financial Litigation Unit is dedicated to investigating defendants’ ability to meet their restitution obligation and collecting such restitution in compliance with federal law. Criminal defendants must understand that the United States Attorney’s Office actively pursues the collection of restitution.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, recognizing the critical importance of recovering restitution for victims, has a Financial Litigation Unit that collects criminal monetary penalties, including restitution, imposed on criminal defendants by the U.S. District Court as part of his or her sentence. One of the tools used by the Unit to collect restitution is the Financial Disclosure Statement, which requires defendants to truthfully disclose, among other things, their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Economic Crimes Section. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas N. Palermo.

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today released its latest Mortgage Fraud Report. The report shows a 12.4 percent year-over-year increase in fraud risk at the end of the second quarter, as measured by the CoreLogic Mortgage Application Fraud Risk Index.

Source: CoreLogic Reports a 12.4 Percent Year-over-Year Increase in Mortgage Fraud Risk for the Second Quarter of 2018 | Business Wire

David Lyle Morgan, 53, Tamp, Florida has pleaded guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud.

According to the plea agreement, Morgan was a licensed realtor who entered into a contract with a homeowner to sell a property in foreclosure. In order to prevent the Federal National Mortgage Association (commonly known as Fannie Mae) from lawfully foreclosing on the homeowner’s property, Morgan devised and executed a bankruptcy fraud scheme wherein he filed a fraudulent bankruptcy petition in the name of the homeowner, without the homeowner’s knowledge or consent, just prior to the scheduled foreclosure sale date. The fraudulent bankruptcy invoked the automatic stay provision of the bankruptcy code, which prevented Fannie Mae from conducting the foreclosure sale and obtaining title to the property. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=David+Lyle+Morgan

The fraudulent bankruptcy petition filed by Morgan allowed him to continue efforts to sell the property in order to obtain ill-gotten real estate commissions.

He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor.

Advocate Law Groups of Florida, P.A., Jon B. Lindeman, Jr., and Ephigenia K. Lindeman, Florida were charged today for violating the Fair Housing Act by targeting Hispanic homeowners in a predatory mortgage modification scheme that increased, rather than decreased, their risk of foreclosure.

The radio and television commercials seemed too good to be true; promising Hispanic homeowners to cut their mortgage payments in half, even offering $500 gift cards to entice them to sign up for loan modification assistance.  The defendants were targeting Hispanic families through a deceptive advertising campaign that aired on Spanish-language radio and television stations throughout Florida.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made the announcement.

HUD’s charge, filed on behalf of three Orlando-area Hispanic families, alleges that at initial client meetings, Spanish-speaking ALG employees made false promises to entice families into paying significant upfront fees and to sign contracts that were predominantly, if not entirely, written in English.  After being retained, ALG knowingly placed their clients’ homes at imminent risk of foreclosure by instructing homeowners to stop making mortgage payments and to cease communicating with their mortgage lenders or servicers. Read HUD’s charge

In addition, HUD’s charge alleges that ALG neglected their clients’ cases and ignored bank requests for information. When homeowners complained about their mistreatment, ALG threatened them with increased mortgage payments, fines, or foreclosure if they sought to terminate their relationship.  ALG ultimately failed to obtain favorable mortgage modifications for their clients, while charging them thousands of dollars in up-front and recurring monthly fees.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of national origin in housing and housing related services, including home mortgage and loan modification services.  This includes targeting persons because of their national origin for fraudulent modification services.

As we peeled back the facts of this case, we were stunned by a business model built to target Hispanic homeowners,” said Anna María Farías, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.  “HUD will use the full weight of the law to protect families from those who would prey upon them because of where they come from or what language they speak.”

Intentionally targeting families with predatory mortgage services because of their national origin is a clear violation of the Fair Housing Act,” said Paul Compton, HUD’s General Counsel. “This charge sends a clear message that HUD will protect the housing rights of all persons to the fullest extent of the law.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, and the 30th anniversary of amendments to the Act prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities and families with children. This year, HUD, local communities, housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country are conducting a variety of activities to enhance awareness of fair housing rights, highlight HUD’s fair housing enforcement efforts, and end housing discrimination in the nation. Read more.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to www.hud.gov/fairhousing.