Archives For Nevada

Joseph A. Gonzalez, 46, Henderson, Nevada, pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to use bogus information and simultaneous loan applications at multiple banks – known as “shot-gunning” – to attempt to obtain home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

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

From 2010 through 2018, Jorge Flores and Simon Curanaj, a real estate broker in the Bronx, New York who has previously pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing, ran a mortgage fraud scheme in which they applied for more than $9 million in HELOCs from banks on residential properties in New Jersey and New York.

Gonzalez and Flores used a property in Jersey City, New Jersey, as part of the scheme. Gonzalez had been allowed by the owner of the property to live there in exchange for management services, but neither he nor Flores owned the property. Gonzalez also recruited an individual with good credit to act as a straw buyer (Individual 1). Unbeknownst to the owner of the property, a “quitclaim” deed – which contains no warranties of title – was prepared transferring the property to Individual 1. The signatures on the deed were forged.

Gonzalez and Flores then applied for two HELOCs from multiple banks using the Jersey City, New Jersey property as collateral in Individual 1’s name. They concealed the fact that the property offered as collateral was either already subject to senior liens that had not yet been recorded, or that the same property was offered as collateral for a line of credit from another lender. The applications also contained false information concerning Individual 1’s income, which was stated to be higher than his actual income. At the time the applications were made, the value of the property was less than the amount of the HELOC loans for which Gonzalez and Flores applied.

The victim banks eventually issued loans to Individual 1 in excess of $500,000. After the victim banks funded the HELOCs and deposited money into Individual 1’s bank account, Individual 1 disbursed almost all of it to Gonzalez, Flores, and others. Gonzalez used $43,000 of the illicit proceeds to buy a luxury car. Individual 1 eventually defaulted on both HELOC loans.

The conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1 million or twice the gross pecuniary gain to the defendants or twice the gross pecuniary loss to others, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for February, 10, 2021.

Gonzalez is the sixth person to plead guilty as part of the scheme.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Manchak; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Jason S. Gould of the U.S. Attorney’s Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin DiGregory of the FHFA, Office of the Inspector General.

 

Lynn Benson, 54, formerly of Las Vegas, Nevada was indicted today on charges including five counts of Mortgage Lending Fraud, a category “C” felony, one count of Pattern of Mortgage Lending Fraud, and five counts of Theft in the Amount of $3,500 or More, both category “B” felonies.

According to the indictment, Lynn Benson misled victims into believing their homes could be saved from mortgage foreclosure. The victims were led to believe that they could follow a devised scheme devised to not make additional payments on their homes.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt made the announcement.

Taking advantage of homeowners in need of assistance will not be tolerated by my office,” said Laxalt. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect the financial safety of all Nevadans.”

In July, 2016, the Nevada Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee unanimously approved AG Laxalt’s request to create a Financial Fraud Unit to combat increasing financial fraud within the State. Among the 10 positions created using non-taxpayer settlement funds, the office dedicated a criminal investigator to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, where local, state and federal agencies collaborate to combat regional terrorism.

This case was investigated after the Office of the Nevada Attorney General began its full-time participation in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. This case was investigated by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Task Force officers, and the arrest was made by the Cloverdale, CA Police Department. The Office of the Nevada Attorney General is prosecuting this case.

A grand jury indictment is merely a charging document; every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The grand jury indictment against Lynn Benson is attached.  To file a complaint about someone suspected of committing a fraud, click here.

Trung Anh Le, 36, California, pleaded guilty to one count of pattern of mortgage lending fraud, a category “B” felony. The fraud was committed in March of 2015.

Le misrepresented himself as the owner of three pieces of real estate property in Las Vegas, Nevada by impersonating the true owners of the property as a way to secure a loan in the amount of $180,000. As a result of Le’s misrepresentation, the title company filed deeds with the Clark County Recorder’s Office, effectively encumbering the properties.

Pattern of mortgage lending fraud is punishable by 3-20 years of imprisonment and a fine of no more than $50,000.The sentencing hearing for Le is scheduled for September 17, 2018 in the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt made the announcement.

My office is committed to protecting homeowners from fraudulent scams, and I encourage those who suspect they’ve fallen victim to a scam to file a complaint with my office,” said Laxalt.

This case was prosecuted by the Nevada Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecution Unit.

To view the criminal Information for Le, click here. To file a complaint about someone suspected of committing fraud, click here.

Geri Lyn McKinnon, 64, Gladstone, Oregon, was indicted today by the Clark County Grand Jury on four felony charges for her role in taking title, without authorization, to foreclosed properties owned by Federal National Mortgage Association.

According to the indictment, McKinnon recorded grant deeds in the Clark County Recorder’s Office, purporting to be the new owner of three single family homes in Clark County, Nevada. In fact, the properties actually belonged to the Federal National Mortgage Association and as a result of these misrepresentations, the properties became unmarketable for over two years.

The charges include three counts of Theft in the Amount of $3,500 or more, and one count of Pattern of False Representation Concerning Title, all category “B” felonies. The alleged fraudulent acts were committed in the fall of 2015.

The announcement was made by Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt.

It is important to Nevada’s housing market that property titles remain clear, marketable and free from fraud,” said Laxalt. “I encourage Nevadans looking to rent or buy properties to protect themselves through title insurance and to review the County records prior to entering into real property agreements.

This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jay Johnson. The Office of the Nevada Attorney General’s Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

An indictment is merely a charging document; every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Dustin M. Lewis, 42, Henderson, Nevada and Brian Sorensen, 49, Las Vegas, Nevada, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of bank fraud arising from a real estate scheme. If convicted, Lewis and Sorenson each face a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and up to a $1,000,000 fine.

According to allegations made in the indictment, from about August 15, 2011 to about January 17, 2014, Lewis and Sorensen conspired with each other to defraud OneWest Bank. The defendants allegedly devised and executed a scheme to avoid foreclosure so that Lewis could retain ownership of a 5,331 square foot, five-bedroom Henderson, Nevada home. As part of the scheme, Lewis submitted a fraudulent short sale application to the bank, which induced the bank to allow Lewis to sell the property to Sorensen’s family member for much less than Lewis owed under the existing mortgage loan. It is further alleged that Lewis did not disclose that he and Sorensen agreed that Lewis would continue to reside at the property and Sorensen would later cause the property to be sold back to Lewis free of the bank’s mortgage loan. It is further alleged that on or about July 21, 2017, Lewis then listed the property for sale at a price of $1,195,000.

Acting U.S. Attorney Steve W. Myhre for the District of Nevada made the announcement.  The case is being investigated by the FBI, the IRS-Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Interior-Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Burns.

Kristen Michelle Ayala, aka Amber Lynch, aka Olivia Benet, aka Grace Williams, 30, formerly of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Joshua Manuel Sanchez, aka Nelson Cruz, aka Chris Ward, aka Daniel Mora, 34, formerly of Las Vegas, Nevada, were sentenced for conspiracy to commit wire fraud for their role in a $3.8 million dollar mortgage modification scam.

Ayala was sentenced to 135 months in prison, while Sanchez was sentenced to 151 months in prison. Both defendants were also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay full restitution to the victims of their crime. Continue Reading…

Rodney Taylor, 51, Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty to two counts of false representation concerning title. Taylor participated in a scheme to claim liens on real estate in Las Vegas, Nevada by filing false documents. The fraudulent acts were committed between March and September 2012.

In addition to claiming non-existent liens on property, Taylor was also accused of filing false claims of ownership for real estate with the county recorder’s office. After filing these claims, Taylor applied for and received public funds from the Southern Nevada Housing Authority in exchange for renting to Section 8 tenants. The state is seeking restitution of over $45,000 for victimized individuals and state agencies.

Fraudulent real estate claims have a devastating impact on Nevada families and their homes,” said Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt. “Prosecutors in my office will continue to ensure that those who attempt to defraud the public receive justice.”

False representation concerning title is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of no more than $10,000. The sentencing hearing for Taylor is scheduled for February 11, 2016, in the Eighth Judicial District Court.

The investigation of this case was a collaborative effort between the Attorney General’s Fraud Unit, the City of North Las Vegas and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Deputy Attorney General Daniel Westmeyer prosecuted this case.

Brett Depue, 42, Gilbert, Arizona, was convicted following a four-day jury trial, and 1½ days of deliberations, of one count of conspiracy to commit mail, bank and wire fraud, and seven counts wire fraud in connection with a Las Vegas mortgage fraud scheme.  Depue was remanded to custody and sentencing is scheduled for November 9 at 9:00 a.m. Depue‘s previous conviction on mortgage fraud charges was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

We are pleased that a second jury determined that Mr. Depue had committed fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden.  “There were over 100 homes used as part of this conspiracy to defraud the financial institutions of millions.” Continue Reading…

Orlando Vera, 55, Whittier, California, pleaded guilty to one felony charge of mortgage lending fraud in Nevada, a category “B” felony.  His plea was a result of his role in a scheme to cheat several hopeful homebuyers out of $904,861. A month earlier, Vera’s co-defendant, Juan Robles, 35, Las Vegas, Nevada pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor for the same scam. Their crimes were committed between November 2012 and January 2014.

Vera schemed to defraud potential Nevada homebuyers by promising to purchase houses using their substantial savings as down payments, but ultimately failed to buy the houses. Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Kerry Earley will sentence Vera and Robles at a date to be determined. A third co-defendant, Christian Delgado, 39, Las Vegas, Nevada, will stand trial on April 4, 2016 for his role in the scheme. Continue Reading…

Patrick A. Nosack, 34, Henderson, Nevada, pled guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with a telemarketing scheme involving timeshare resales. The telemarketing scam operated in Las Vegas, Nevada, and bilked over 3,000 victims of approximately 10 million dollars. Continue Reading…