Mortgage officer charged in $10 million mortgage fraud scheme – NMP
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against a mortgage loan officer and two real estate agents, charging them with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Phillip A. Talbert, U.S. Attorney for Eastern California, announced the indictments of German Antonio Lopez-Velasquez, 55, of Modesto, Calif.; Marko Antonio Lopez, 27, of Modesto, Calif.; and Lisa Marie Santos, 48, of Long Beach, Calif. The trio face up to three decades in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.
According to court documents, Lopez-Velasquez and Lopez, who were both realtors, worked with Santos, a mortgage loan officer, to obtain fraudulent mortgages for properties based in Stanislaus County, San Joaquin, Santa Clara County and elsewhere. The three used false documents, fictitious companies and fictitious individuals to obtain mortgages for borrowers who were not qualified to receive loans, according to the indictment. In total, defendants pushed lenders to issue at least 30 loans based on false information with a total loan principal balance exceeding $10 million, he said.
Lopez-Velasquez was also charged with witness tampering. The indictment alleges he attempted to persuade an individual to make false statements to law enforcement regarding a mortgage loan under investigation.
The indictment says Santos has been a mortgage loan officer since at least 2003 and has held managerial and supervisory positions. The fraud covered a period from at least August 2016 to August 2019.
The mortgage companies involved, according to the indictment, included Caliber Home Loans, Nations Direct, Flagstar Bank, Bay Equity and Franklin Advantage.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. If convicted, Lopez-Velasquez faces a maximum legal sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for witness tampering.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), the US Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), and the US Postal Inspection Service. (USPIS).
“The FHFA-OIG is committed to holding accountable those who waste, steal, or abuse the resources of FHFA-regulated government-sponsored businesses, which the defendants have been accused of defrauding,” said Jay Johnson, agent special in charge of the FHFA. -OIG, Western Regional Office.