Archives For Mortgage Fraudsters

Betsy Borges, 38, Mays Landing, New Jersey who admitted her role in a more than $200,000 mortgage fraud conspiracy involving a property she purchased in Mays Landing, New Jersey, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison.

Borges was originally charged by complaint in May 2017 with Iraida Fuentes, 35, Pleasantville, New Jersey.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In December 2002, Borges purchased a property in Mays Landing, New Jersey. Despite failing to make mortgage payments to Wachovia and its successor, Wells Fargo, Borges collected rental income from tenants living in the property and concealed that income from the banks. Borges also falsely represented to Wells Fargo, on multiple occasions, that she could not make the mortgage payments for the property.

Borges subsequently arranged with Wells Fargo for Fuentes to purchase the property through a short sale. Not only did Borges and Fuentes conceal their familial relationship from Wells Fargo, they also concealed the fact that Borges and another conspirator provided Fuentes the funds to purchase the property.

On September 20, 2012, Fuentes purchased the property at a price well below its actual value. On November 22, 2016, B&B Properties, a company owned in part by Borges, purchased the property from Fuentes for $25,000. On February 3, 2017, Borges then individually purchased the property from B&B Properties for one dollar.

Borges previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle to information charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Judge Simandle imposed the sentence in Camden federal court.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Simandle sentenced Borges to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay restitution of $206,405.

Fuentes pleaded guilty on Nov. 6, 2017 and was sentenced Feb. 9, 2018 to two years of probation.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited agents of the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bradley W. Cohen in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline M. Carle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

Defense counsel: Louis M. Barbone Esq., Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Oscar Cantalicio Ortiz, 54, Kingwood, Texas has received a second federal sentence for failing to appear in court. Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt handed Ortiz another 12 months and one day to be served consecutively to the already-imposed 262 months for his conviction of bank fraud.

Ortiz was originally convicted for a mortgage fraud scheme in which he admitted he conspired to commit bank, mail and wire fraud. He was permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing in that case, but was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device secured around his leg as a condition of his release.

On April 21, 2017, he cut off the device and left it on the side of the road in southwest Houston, Texas. His vehicle was later found abandoned in a parking lot in the same area of town.

On April 24, 2017, Ortiz was set to appear before U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt for sentencing in the mortgage fraud scheme. He failed show for that hearing.

He was residing in Mexico and turned himself in to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico on August 23, 2017. Ortiz told the FBI at the Embassy that he was a fugitive from the United States and had decided to flee because he wanted more time to work on a project. He was flown back to Houston the following day.

Ortiz pleaded guilty December 4, 2017.

Upon his arrival, agents noted that Ortiz had changed his appearance by growing facial hair and dying it and his hair red. Ortiz admitted he had purchased a second car to replace the one he abandoned and drove across the border into Mexico where he stayed until his arrest.

While a fugitive, Judge Hoyt imposed the nearly 22-year sentence in absentia which will be served consecutively to the term imposed today.

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

The FBI conducted the investigation of both cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis is prosecuting the cases.

Andrew Valles, Jemal Lilly, Mark Bellinger and Arnold Millman were indicted by a grand jury in the San Diego Superior Court on 194 criminal felony counts for allegedly operating a mortgage fraud scheme throughout Southern California. The scheme resulted in a loss of approximately $2 million for 40 victims who were seeking loans to help pay off their mortgages. Many of the victims lost their homes and life savings.

According to the indictment, between 2012 and 2017, the defendants conspired using a fake insurance company, “SafeCare,” which promised to provide home loan services at a low monthly price to primarily Latino and African American families. During this time, the defendants would delay foreclosures and eviction actions by filing false bankruptcy and other court documents under fictitious names. They would instruct victims to deposit illegal advance fees and other large payments into a bank account controlled by the defendants and, when the promised loan did not come through, would proceed with the fabricated filings. One of the defendants allegedly committed identity theft by posing as an attorney purporting to assist the victims. The victims were charged additional fees for the false “attorney services.” The scheme took place in San Diego, Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino counties in California.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the indictment of the four individuals.

The perpetrators of this mortgage fraud stole the life savings of decent Californians,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It’s too common a story with all-too-common tactics. I hope today’s arrests and indictments break the stride of those who prey on hard working Americans and betray their trust. This case demonstrates the potency of multi-jurisdictional law enforcement agencies collaborating to fight fraud.”

These individuals are alleged to have played a role in this scheme by promising distressed homeowners new financing only to turn around and deliver bad credit. These actions not only cost the government sponsored enterprises and financial institutions hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they harmed consumers who were trying to do the right thing. FHFA-OIG thanks its law enforcement partners for their efforts,” said Rene Febles, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations for the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General.

This case is evidence that insurance fraud is not a victimless crime,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “These suspects allegedly deceived dozens of victims to the tune of over $2 million, leaving them uninsured and at great financial risk. Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement partners, we were able to work together to unravel this case and stop this criminal enterprise.”

Two of defendants, Jemal Lilly and Mark Bellinger were arrested on January 30, 2018; they pled not guilty at their arraignments on February 2 and February 13, 2018. Defendants Andrew Valles and Arnold Millman have not been arrested and are currently at large and out of custody.

The arrests were the product of a joint investigation by the California Department of Justice, the California Department of Insurance, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General (FHFA-OIG). The United States Trustee Program assisted in providing a grand jury witness.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting Californians from criminal fraudsters. If you are a homeowner who believes you may have been targeted by SafeCare, please contact the California Department of Justice. For those located in California, please call: 1-800-952-5225. For those located outside of California, please call: 1-916-322-3360.

It is important to note that a criminal indictment contains charges that must be proven in a court of law. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Heidi Haischer, 44, Las Vegas, Nevada, a mortgage agent, was found guilty for participation in a mortgage fraud scheme that netted $1.2 million in fraudulent mortgage loans.

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Dameene R. Dedrick, 39, Sacramento, California, pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud and one count of mail fraud.

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Pedro Juan Adum was sentenced to five years of probation, 180 days of home confinement, and fined $25,000, for money laundering in connection with a fraudulent real estate purchase.

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Marc D. Foley, 46, Needham, Massachusetts, an attorney formerly operating a real estate practice, was convicted in federal court on charges of wire fraud and money laundering in connection with fraudulent mortgage loans.

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Bryan Knight, 43, Osceola, Indiana, was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment, 2 years of supervised release and restitution of $514,198.00 after pleading guilty to the felony offense of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud.

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Stephen P. Connolly, 51, Copley, Ohio, was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution after previously pleading guilty to crimes related to a mortgage-fraud scheme involving four properties in the Akron and Cleveland areas.

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Lee Loomis, aka Lawrence Leland Loomis, 54, Granite Bay, California, was arrested and a 50-count indictment was unsealed, charging him and six others with mail fraud and wire fraud.

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