The United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) announced this past week that seven Florida residents of Miami-Dade County, pled guilty to conspiracy charges for their involvement in a massive mortgage fraud scheme involving two condominium conversion projects in central Florida.
The defendants, Orlando Ortiz, 53; Luis Enrique Tur, 47; Jeffrey Todd Canfield, 49; Rafael Amador, 34; and Osvaldo Sanchez, 40, pled guilty on November 10 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. They are scheduled to be sentenced on January 19, 2017.
Mirna Pena, 54, and Pedro Reynaldo Allende, 66, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud on November 16. They are scheduled to be sentenced on March 28, 2017.
According to the USDOJ, from 2007 to 2008, Ortiz, Tur, Canfield, Amador, and Sanchez were involved in a mortgage fraud scheme involving two condominium projects: “Portofino at Largo,” in Largo, Florida, and “Bayshore Landing,” in Tampa, Florida. Pena and Allende were only involved in the Portofino at Largo project.
The defendants recruited unqualified straw buyers to purchase units in the two condominium projects. Among other things, the recruiters told certain prospective buyers that: buyers did not have to contribute any money to purchase a unit, buyers would receive a cash-back incentive or “kick-back” after closing, and buyers would receive several months’ mortgage payments.
The co-conspirators then prepared and submitted false and fraudulent mortgage loan applications and related documents to various lenders. They also ran fraudulent marketing businesses that did not provide any marketing services in order to divert loan proceeds from the fraud scheme to the marketing companies which they used to pay undisclosed kick-backs to the buyers.
Pena and Allende operated two Miami-based businesses, which were used to perpetrate the mortgage fraud scheme: Mortgage Bankers Lenders, Inc., a mortgage broker business, which submitted false and fraudulent loan applications and related documents to the lenders; and United Title Services & Escrow, Inc., which closed mortgage loan transactions even though the buyers had not paid earnest money deposits or cash-to-close, and used loan proceeds to pay “marketing fees” to a marketing company operated by unindicted co-conspirators.
The defendants face a maximum statutory term of thirty years imprisonment for their participation in the mortgage fraud conspiracy.