Twelve defendants appeared in court around the country this week to answer for charges related to mortgage fraud, conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, and making false information to financial institutions, among others. The estimated combined losses for lenders and families: some $12.4 million.[IMAGE]
Unaccounted-for: the number of delayed dreams, shattered finances, and lives adversely impacted by the crimes, alleged and otherwise.
Several news agencies reported the news, with arraignments and indictments moving forward at lower and appellate courts across six states, including California, Connecticut, Kansas, Idaho, and Nevada. Some of the accused pled guilty, while other defendants received sentences and still others heard their charges.
The ""Federal Bureau of Investigation"":http://www.fbi.gov/ (FBI) accounted for several of the cases, beginning with Christian Tudorof, who pleaded guilty Monday to one count of wired fraud in New Haven. According to the ""_Hartford Courant_"":http://www.courant.com/community/new-haven/hc-ap-ct-mortgagefraud-conjul11,0,4326967.story, Tudorof defrauded several lenders across the country by falsifying mortgage applications and failing to disclose ownership for six properties in Arizona, Connecticut, and Florida between 2006 and 2007. Tudorof netted $4 million in fraudulent homes, resulting in more than $2 million in losses for affected lenders. He may serve up to 20 years in prison and receive $4 million in fines when a court magistrates grants his sentence in October, according to the ""_Courant_"":http://www.courant.com/community/new-haven/hc-ap-ct-mortgagefraud-conjul11,0,4326967.story.
On Tuesday, a Boise-based court sentenced real estate agent Melody Redondo to a year and three months in prison, plus five additional years of supervised release for falsifying documents she submitted to a financial institution. The 33-year-old pled guilty October last year to the false statement charge in a plea agreement that saw nine other counts, including charges for bank fraud, wire fraud, and making a false statement, dismissed by the presiding judge, according to the ""_Greenfield Daily Reporter_"":http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/925722b9bbbd4f94af06f715ed9e146b/ID--Mortgage-Fraud-Sentence/.[COLUMN_BREAK]
Paul Redondo, the defendant's husband, pled guilty to misdemeanor theft from a financial institution, for which the presiding judge sentenced him to three years' probation and home detention, alongside an 80-hour community service requirement and $101,450 in fines and restitution.
""False statements to banks in order to obtain home loans or home equity lines of credit undermine the integrity of the housing financing system,"" the ""_Reporter_"":http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/925722b9bbbd4f94af06f715ed9e146b/ID--Mortgage-Fraud-Sentence/ reported U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson as saying. ""This conviction shows that federal and state law enforcement agencies and prosecutors will work together to ensure that those who would exploit home loans for personal gain are properly punished.""
Meanwhile, in Alameda County, California, Las Vegas resident Alan David Tikal continues to try to post $780,000 bail, which prosecutors allege his girlfriend may have obtained illegally. Authorities accuse the defendant of defrauding some 11 families as part of a real estate fraud and mortgage rescue scheme. Tikal will attend his bail hearing later on July 20.
Not far from Alameda, a court charged six Los Angeles County residents for their alleged roles in orchestrating a $4 million mortgage fraud scheme. A federal jury indicted the first three defendants ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô Anthony Lewis, Maria Arriaza, and Deon Jackson ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy. The next three ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô Jennifer Le, Matthew Balsz, and Freddy Lentz ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô received charges related to bribery in the mortgage fraud scheme, according to court documents and information released by the ""FBI"":http://www.fbi.gov/. The former mortgage brokers and escrow officers allegedly omitted material information in applications, filed false bank statements, and used false verification deposit forms, among other things.
If convictions move forward, Lewis, Arriaza, and Jackson may each face up to 95 years' imprisonment and fines of $1 million or double the amount of losses sustained by lenders.
Lastly, in Kansas City, Kansas, four men pled guilty to conspiracies in fraudulent mortgage loan applications. The men included Paul Hartfield, Brian Jaimes, John Bradfield, and Kevin Mahoney. Between the four, lenders lost approximately $4.9 million in fraudulent loans. With the exception of Jaimes, who may receive $1 million in fines, the other defendants each face up to 30 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
The 12 cases follow a string of other high-profile mortgage fraud cases and convictions nationally, with convicted money-launderer Thomas Kontogiannis awaiting a potential 30-year sentence for a $92 million mortgage fraud payout scheme, which some call the largest such instance of mortgage fraud in the nation's history.