Archives For False Application

Todd Ament, 57, Orange, California, the former president and CEO of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce is expected to appear this afternoon in federal court after being charged with lying to a mortgage lender about his assets while seeking a loan for a $1.5 million home in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Ament was charged in a 99-page criminal complaint filed Monday afternoon in United States District Court with making false statements to a financial institution while seeking funding in late 2020 to purchase a second home, a five-bedroom residence in Big Bear City, California.

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint outlines a plot in which Ament – with the assistance of a political consultant who was a partner at a national public relations firm – devised a scheme to launder proceeds intended for the Chamber through the PR firm into Ament’s bank account. This infusion of cash – which appears to have been a loan from the PR firm engineered by the political consultant – allegedly influenced the lender’s decision to fund the mortgage.

The scheme led to a series of wire transfers from the PR firm that ultimately gave Ament $205,000 and made it appear he had enough cash on hand to secure the home loan, according to the affidavit. Ament allegedly used some of that money for the down payment, and some was used to make an out-of-escrow payment to the seller. The affidavit states that Ament made a $200,000 payment directly to the seller in an apparent effort to reduce the sale price of the house, thus reducing property taxes and lowering the commission to the seller’s real estate agent, the affidavit states.

An investigation outlined in the affidavit revealed that Ament and the political consultant had a close relationship for several years, one that included leading a small group of Anaheim public officials, consultants and business leaders. That group –described by Ament and the political consultant as a “family” and a “cabal” – met regularly at “retreats” to allegedly exert influence over government operations in Anaheim, according to the affidavit.

Ament and the political consultant also allegedly devised a scheme to divert proceeds intended for the Chamber through the PR firm and into Ament’s personal bank account. The affidavit alleges that Ament and the political consultant schemed to defraud a cannabis company that had retained the political consultant to lobby for favorable cannabis-related legislation in Anaheim. The cannabis company paid $225,000 to the Chamber with the understanding that it would have access to a task force that crafted such legislation, but at least $31,000 of that money was paid directly to Ament without those payments being disclosed to the client, the affidavit alleges.

The charge of making false statements to a financial institution carries a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation are conducting the investigation in this matter.

Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel H. Ahn, Daniel S. Lim and Melissa S. Rabbani of the Santa Ana Branch Office are prosecuting this case.

Alireza Zamanizadeh, aka Ali Zamani, 63, Portland, Oregon was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison and five years’ supervised release for using a residential property he did not own as collateral for obtaining a bank loan worth more than $316,000.

According to court documents, on or about February 17, 2017, Zamanizadeh filed a quitclaim deed in Deschutes County, Oregon transferring a residential property in Bend, Oregon to his business for one dollar without the property owner’s consent. A quitclaim deed is a document used to quickly transfer the ownership of real property from one party to another.

Zamanizadeh then used the property as collateral for obtaining a loan worth $316,092 from a mortgage lender and forged the property owner’s signature on a statement verifying the property transfer. Based on his false representations, the mortgage company approved the loan and transferred the funds to Zamanizadeh’s bank account. After Zamanizadeh defaulted on the loan, the true owner of the property purchased the property out of foreclosure for $400,000.

On June 14, 2021, Zamanizadeh was charged by criminal information with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. On September 14, 2021, he pleaded guilty to bank fraud.

The court also ordered Zamanizadeh to pay $400,000 in restitution to the owner of the property.

U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation with assistance from the FBI. It was prosecuted by Katherine A. Rykken, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

 

Juliana Martins, 53, North Providence, Rhode Island, today admitted in federal court that she provided false information to a mortgage lender when applying for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed mortgage, and that she fraudulently applied for a COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and unemployment insurance benefits under both the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, announced United States Attorney Zachary A. Cunha.

Martins was on federal supervised release at the time of the charged fraudulent activities.

At the time of her guilty plea, Martins admitted to the court that while on federal supervised release her role in a stolen identity refund scheme, as well as while on state probation for an unrelated 2014 conviction for forgery and counterfeiting, she applied for an FHA-guaranteed loan. As part of the application process, she provided false explanations as to her gaps in employment while serving her federal sentence, claiming she was unemployed due to a “family emergency.” Martins also failed to disclose the fact that she was subject to a $385,533 federal restitution order.

Following the application, Martins and a co-borrower were issued an FHA-insured mortgage in the amount of $265,109.

Additionally, Martins admitted that in July 2020, she submitted a fraudulent application for a Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest COVID-related Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), falsely claiming that she was an independent contractor in the health service business, and that her business had been impacted by the pandemic. Finally, Martins admitted that she fraudulently applied for and received COVID-related unemployment insurance benefits while she was in fact employed as an office manager in April 2020. In total, Martins received over $40,000 in COVID relief benefits to which she was not entitled.

Martins pleaded guilty to false statement on a loan application and theft of government property. She is scheduled to be sentenced on August 4, 2022.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys G. Michael Seaman and Sandra R. Hebert.

The matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General; U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General; FBI; and Rhode Island State Police, with the assistance of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Unemployment Insurance Fraud Unit.

Rhode Islanders who believe their personal identification has been stolen and used to fraudulently obtain unemployment benefits are urged to contact the Rhode Island State Police at financialcrimes@risp.gov or the FBI Providence office at (401) 272-8310.

On May 17, 2021, the United States Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

Juliana Martins, 52, North Providence, Rhode Island, has been indicted for allegedly making false statements related to her incarceration and the court-ordered requirement that she pay back the stolen money when she applied for a U.S. Federal Housing Administration-backed home mortgage.

Martins in June 2019, while serving a term of federal supervised release for having conspired to use the stolen personal identity information of numerous individuals to steal nearly $400,000 from the United States Treasury, falsely represented on a home loan application, and in July 2019 on a closing document, that there were no outstanding judgements against her, when in fact she is under court order to pay restitution to the government totaling $385,533.58.

According to the indictment, when responding to requirements to truthfully disclose to the bank her credit report, assets, liabilities, and income, Martins falsely stated to the bank that “the reason I have a job gap in my employment was because I was away on a family emergency for over two years,” when in fact during that time she was incarcerated in federal prison. Additionally, it is alleged, Martins provided a false explanation for an inquiry from the Department of Justice on her credit report.

In March 2014, Martins pleaded guilty to conspiracy to embezzle United States Treasury checks, theft of government property, and aggravated identity theft, admitting that she was a leader of a criminal enterprise that possessed hundreds of people’s personal identifying information that was used to open bank accounts into which fraudulently obtained government checks were deposited. Martins was sentenced in September 2014 to serve 48 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of federal supervised release.

On Friday, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Martins with making false statements on bank loan applications, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus and Christina D. Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Region of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General.

The indictment requires, upon conviction, that Martin forfeit to the government her interest in her North Providence house and property.

A federal indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Martins is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A Sullivan on Tuesday for a supervised release violation hearing.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Hebert.

Blanca A. Medina, 54, Manalapan, New Jersey, pleaded guilty today, admitting her role in a scheme to defraud a financial institution of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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

From 2015 to 2018, Medina conspired with others to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans from “Mortgage Lender A” in Monmouth County to finance the purchase of properties by unqualified buyers. Applicants for mortgage loans are required to list their assets and income on their mortgage loan applications, and mortgage lenders rely on those applications when deciding whether to issue mortgage loans.

Medina, a former loan officer for Mortgage Lender A, admitted to participating in a conspiracy in which she knowingly caused completed mortgage loan applications that contained multiple misrepresentations of material facts regarding the buyers’ assets and income to be submitted to Mortgage Lender A. A conspirator provided Medina with false and fraudulent documents for potential borrowers including false and fraudulent lease agreements, bank statements, and a gift check and gift letter. Based on these lies, Mortgage Lender A issued mortgage loans to unqualified buyers, which caused Mortgage Lender A hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

The conspiracy charge to which Medina pleaded guilty carries a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for October 20, 2020.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito made the announcement.

Medina was charged before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court to a one-count information charging her with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski in Newark, and Special Agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Manchak, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Fayer of the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Divine of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General.

Moctezuma “Mo” Tovar, 50, Sacramento, California, Jun Michael Dirain, 47, Antelope, California and Sandra Hermosillo, 57, Woodland, California were sentenced today for conspiring to commit wire fraud in a mortgage fraud scheme.

According to court documents, Tovar was the founder and president of Delta Homes and Lending Inc., a now-defunct Sacramento, California-based real estate and mortgage lending company. Delta Homes opened one office in 2003 and eventually had several offices in Sacramento and Woodland, California. As the president of Delta Homes, Tovar managed the day-to-day operations of the company and prepared and submitted residential home loan applications on behalf of Delta Homes’ clients. Dirain was a loan processor at Delta Homes, and Hermosillo was a loan officer at the Woodland office and was also responsible for submitting residential home loan applications on behalf of clients.

Between October 2004 and May 2007, Tovar, Dirain, and Hermosillo conspired along with others to obtain home loans from mortgage lenders based upon false and fraudulent loan applications and supporting documents that falsely represented the borrowers’ assets and income, liabilities and debts, and employment status. They provided money to the borrowers in order to inflate their bank account balances. Once the loans were secured, the borrowers returned the money to the defendants. The aggregate sale price of the homes involved in the overall conspiracy was in excess of $10 million. As a result of the conspiracy, mortgage lenders and others suffered losses of at least $4 million. http://www.mortgagefraudblog.com/?s=Jun+Michael+Dirain

Tovar was sentenced to four years and six months in prison, Dirain was sentenced to six months in prison, followed by six months of home detention; and Hermosillo was sentenced to nine months of home detention.

Co-defendant Christian Parada Renteria, 43, formerly of Sacramento, California pleaded guilty to two counts of concealing felonies related to the wire fraud conspiracy, and was previously sentenced to serve one year in prison.

Co-defendant Manuel Herrera, 39, Davis, California pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and co-defendants Jaime Mayorga, 40, and Ruben Rodriguez, 42, both of Sacramento, California, were convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud at a jury trial.

Herrera will be sentenced by Judge Shubb on a date to be determined. Mayorga and Rodriguez will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on November 5, 2019. Each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott made the announcement.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian A. Fogerty and Justin L. Lee prosecuted the case.

 

Erik Hermann Green, 37, Huntington Beach, formerly of Roseville, California was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $118,421 in restitution for his participation in a mortgage fraud scheme.

According to evidence presented at a seven–day trial in March, Green was part of a large‑scale scheme to defraud the New Century Mortgage Corporation by submitting false documentation about employment, income and assets, including fraudulent loan applications and other altered bank documents. In October 2006, when Green submitted his fraudulent loan applications to obtain a loan for $820,000, he was a licensed real estate sales person and managed approximately 15 loan officers. As part of the scheme, Green received a check for $100,000 that was funneled through a shell company at the close of escrow. Green used the funds for personal expenses. The jury found him guilty of three counts of wire fraud.

U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott made the announcement.

The defendant lied to mortgage lenders to obtain a substantial amount of money and a new home for himself, while causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to lenders,” said Kareem Carter, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “This case highlights the ongoing commitment of IRS-CI to hold accountable those involved in these types of crimes.”

This case was the product of an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Anderson and Miriam R. Hinman prosecuted the case.

 

Eliseo Delgado Jr., 40, Corona, California plead guilty on Monday to federal charges for fraudulently obtaining tens of thousands of dollars in mortgage assistance benefits under the portion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) intended for homeowners hardest hit by the 2007-09 economic downturn.

Delgado made the first known guilty plea by an individual to fraud charges regarding TARP’s mortgage assistance program.

According to court documents, in November 2014, Delgado knowingly submitted a false application for homeowner relief benefits under the Unemployment Mortgage Assistance Program (UMA).

Delgado’s November 2014 application for homeowner relief benefits fraudulently stated that Delgado’s income had been reduced because of unemployment. In a “hardship letter” in support of his application for UMA benefits, Delgado wrote, “I have lost my job…I fell behind on my mortgage payments in 01/01/2014, earlier this year due to lack of income.” In fact, from 2009 to 2016, Delgado was self-employed at various businesses he had founded, and at no point was he unemployed. In total, Delgado fraudulently received $52,373 in UMA benefits from January 2015 until June 2016 – 18 months, the maximum length of time permissible under the program, according to court documents.

UMA was a federally funded program under TARP that was administered in California by the California Housing Finance Authority’s Mortgage Assistance Corporation under the name “Keep Your Home California.” The program was designed to help homeowners by providing temporary mortgage assistance to eligible low-to moderate-income homeowners who became unemployed. Congress passed TARP to stabilize the nation’s financial system during the financial crisis of 2008. In 2010, using TARP money, Congress established the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF), to provide targeted aid to families in states hit hard by the economic and housing market downturn.

United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal has scheduled an October 28, 2019 sentencing hearing, where Delgado faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by SIGTARP and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Weir of the Riverside Branch Office.

About SIGTARP

The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) is a federal law enforcement agency that targets crime at financial institutions or in TARP housing programs and is an independent watchdog protecting the interests of the America people. SIGTARP investigations have resulted in the recovery of $10 billion and 278 defendants sentenced to prison.

To report a suspected crime related to TARP, call SIGTARP’s Crime Tip Hotline: 1-877-744-2009. To receive alerts about reports, audits, media releases, and other SIGTARP news, sign up at

www.SIGTARP.gov. Follow SIGTARP on Twitter @SIGTARP.