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Tag: mortgage fraud

Former FBI Employee, Wife Plead Guilty to Mortgage Fraud

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI employee and his wife were convicted in a mortgage fraud scheme and now face up to 30 years in prison, the Mercury News reports.

The husband, Charles Espinel, 61, also admitted he lied to the agency about his new properties to prevent suspicion.

Espinel and his wife, Jeanette 58, pleaded guilty to defrauding First California Bank and Wells Fargo Bank to buy a combined $1.3 million in rental properties. The couple lied about their incomes and intentions of living at the properties.

Espinel spent 32 years with the FBI, retiring as a support services technician.

Dallas County DA Under Fire for Decision to Seek Charges Against Oil Heir

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are investigating Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins in connection with his decision to seek criminal mortgage fraud charges against an oil heir, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Questions are swirling about whether Watkins leveled charges against oil heir Al Hill II in 2010 as a favor to political contributors, according to the Morning News.

Watkins was found in contempt last week for refusing to testify under oath about the circumstances leading up to his decision to seek charges.

A judge dismissed the mortgage fraud charge, the Morning News reported.

The FBI and U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas are investigating Hill.

Justice Department: No Evidence for Charges Against Goldman Sachs

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Federal authorities closed two investigations into mortgage deals at Goldman Sachs, the Justice Department announced in a rare statement late Thursday, Reuters reports.

Although federal prosecutors are typically loathe to publicize the closing of a case, they issued a statement announcing that no illegal activity was found.

“The department and investigative agencies ultimately concluded that the burden of proof to bring a criminal case could not be met based on the law and facts as they exist at this time,” the Justice Department said in a statement late on Thursday.

The investigation was spurred by a Congressional committee that asked prosecutors to look into several mortgage deals after Goldman sold troubled mortgage securities to investors who eventually lost a fortune, Reuters reported.

Also on Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced it ended its investigation into a $1.3 billion subprime mortgage deal.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

Prof Who Helped FBI Probe Mortgage Fraud Indicted in Mortgage Scheme

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A college professor who helped the FBI investigate mortgage fraud cases was indicted Thursday for running a similar scam, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Paul Tomko, an adjunct professor Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio, faces eight counts of fraud and conspiracy and making false statements to his probation officer.

Tomko, 39, told the Plain Dealer he is innocent.

“I have no idea what they’re talking about,” he said. “We certainly plan to fight this.”

In 2007 and 2008, the FBI paid Tomko $27,000 to help agents in mortgage fraud investigations.

Real Estate Workers in San Diego Charged in Multi-Million Dollar Fraud

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Here’s another reminder how the real estate and banking world have suffered as a result of major acts of fraud.

In San Diego, charges were unsealed on Tuesday against several real estate agents involved in a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme targeting “vulnerable, low-income immigrants” , according to a statement from the FBI.

Eric Elegado, Charmagne Elegado, Theodore Cohen, Minh Nguyen, Regidor Pacal, Alexander V. Garcia, Roman Macabulos, Ramin Lotfi, and Roderick Huerto face multiple charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and criminal forfeiture, says the FBI. The scheme resulted in losses of more than $15 million.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Eric Elegado owned and operated San Diego real estate and brokerage businesses and, conspired with others, obtained mortgage loans for unqualified buyers by falsifying salary information on loan documents, then submitted the documents to mortgage lenders, who eventually lent more than $50 million in mortgage loans.

“As a result of their scheme to defraud, defendants and others caused the mortgage companies, lending institutions, and financial institutions to lose more than $15 million,” says the FBI statement.

The defendants are scheduled to appear before US District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia on March 28.

 

State Patrolman Pleads Guilty to Multiple Charges of Fraud

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A former Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper pled guilty in a US District Court on Monday to charges of mortgage fraud, bankruptcy fraud and witness tampering, the FBI announced.

Benjamin W. Richardson, 46, of Powell, Ohio, plead guilty to the eight-count indictment before US District Judge Gregory L. Frost. Richardson was arrested in September of 2011 by FBI agents and has been in custody since. Richardson resigned from the Ohio State Highway Patrol when the charges were returned.

In 2005, Richardson took part in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lending institutions out of $678,275 in loans involving three properties he was buying, as well as the refinancing of his own home, he admitted. He admitted to under-reporting his income when filing for bankruptcy in 2007 as well.

With a guilty plea on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud, Richardson faces up to 30 years for each crime, though a sentencing date has not yet been set. Five more years are possible for each of two additional counts: making false statements and false oaths in bankruptcy. For attempting to prevent a witness from talking with law enforcement during the investigation, Richardson also pled guilty to witness tampering, which can carry up to 20 years.

 

FBI Agent in Prison for Mortgage Fraud; Goes From American Dream to American Nightmare

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent has watched his life go from the American dream to the American nightmare, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Darin McAllister was a preacher in southern LA before working for the LAPD. From there he moved onto the FBI, working undercover in LA and then Tennessee, the Times reports. He called his career “my American Dream,” reports the LA Times. McAllister is now in a Kentucky federal prison, however, in what he calls “my American nightmare.”

McAllister is serving a four-year sentence stemming from a Justice Department investigation into mortgage fraud.

McAllister joined the LAPD just months before the Rodney King beating in March of 1991, as police were recruiting members of the African-American community for leadership roles, from churches in particular.

He was hired by the FBI in 1996 for undercover work .”I looked at the bureau as being the premier law enforcement agency,” he said. “I considered them the best.”

He was transferred to Nashville in 2003, where he bought duplexes, painted them and put up new drywall, then rented them out. But when the market soured, McAllister started losing tenants and falling behind on his mortgage loans. That’s when McAllister began to illegally inflate his earnings on mortgage papers.

To read more click here.

 

Feds Convict Crooked Attorney But Not Before Being Duped by FBI Snitch


Louis Cherico/gang land news photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds got their conviction on Tuesday in New York against attorney Louis Cherico for mortgage fraud. But the case was not without embarrassment in what Gang Land News described as “Keystone Kops-like antics by the feds.”

Jerry Capeci, editor of Gang Land News, reports that the feds and Cherico “were victims of an elaborate scam by an FBI snitch.”

Here’s how.

Back in September, before trial started for Cherico, an FBI snitch provided bogus info to the feds that Cherico was going to skip town and head to South America to be with a former lover who wanted to ditch her husband, Gang Land News reported.

The snitch went as far as to say that Cherico was trying to get a secret charter flight to Venezuala and apparently used “text-spoofing” to make it look as if Cherico was texting certain messages.  Gang Land wrote: “As it happens, Cherico, 70, does not even know how to send text messages.”

Cherico ended up having to wear an ankle monitor.

On the last day of trial, Gang Land News reports, fed prosecutor Nicholas McQuaid announcd that the feds had “developed information that undermines the credibility of our source significantly.”

Gang Land reported that the prosecutor asked the judge to remove the ankle monitor from Cherico.

The feds may have gotten duped, but they did get the conviction against Cherico,70, for bank fraud, mortgage fraud and money laundering in what turned out to be a three-week trial. Sentencing is set for March 6.