Rene de Jesus de Leon, 47, Silver Spring, Maryland, his wife, Pedrina Rodriguez Bonilla, 37, Silver Spring, Maryland, and Ana Maritza Gomez, 43, Hyattsville, Maryland, were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges arising from a residential mortgage fraud scheme.
According to the 10-count indictment and court documents, from at least January 2011 to August 2015, the defendants told homeowners who wanted to modify their mortgage loans and prevent foreclosure of their homes that — for an upfront fee, which was usually between $2,000 and $6,000, subsequent monthly payments and a back-end consulting fee — the defendants could lower the homeowners’ monthly payments and allow them to pay off their loans more quickly. The defendants told the victims to make monthly payments to the defendants and to companies they controlled, in lieu of to the homeowners’ lenders, as part of a “principal reduction consulting program.” The companies controlled by defendants were named Marketing Multiservices LLC and Innovative Solutions Services LLC.
According to the indictment and court documents, the conspirators mailed monthly invoices to the homeowner victims. Some of the victims paid Gomez in person each month at her residence, or a co-conspirator would go to the home of the victim to pick up the monthly payment. The defendants told the victims not to open any mail from their lenders and instead provide it to the conspirators. The indictment alleges, however, that the defendants did not negotiate with lenders of behalf of the homeowners.
According to the affidavit supporting the complaint against Bonilla and Gomez, one victim who was actually current on his mortgage made payments to the program, in lieu of his lender, totaling approximately $50,000, including the initial fee. The victim stopped making payments when he received a foreclosure notice from his lender. Another victim told investigators that she made payments to the program totaling at least $20,000, but nevertheless was evicted from her house, had her cars towed, her dogs boarded and her belongings put on the front lawn.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, and 20 years in prison for each of nine counts of mail fraud. De Leon and Bonilla are currently detained. Initial appearances for the three defendants have not yet been scheduled.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Rene Febles of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG); Special Agent in Charge Cary A. Rubenstein of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG); Chief Henry P. Stawinski of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Postal Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FHFA-OIG, HUD-OIG, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Police Departments, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jolie F. Zimmerman, who are prosecuting the case.