Tow Florida Realtors plead guilty this past week to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in relation to a mortgage fraud scheme they had participated in during the summer 2008 and January 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ).
David Cevallos (46, Miami) and Osbel Sanchez (45, Tampa) both face a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for multiple real estate transactions where they had committed mortgage fraud in order to induce lenders to make loans for borrowers on properties where they had a vested interest in as the salespersons. Most of these transactions involved Tribute Residential, a real estate development firm ran by co-conspirator Rebecca Gheiler, as the seller, according to the USDOJ.
Both Cevallos and Sanchez devised a down payment scheme where they had provided borrowers with the money to put down on the properties which were undisclosed to the lenders. The USDOJ said that Gheiler would make sure that any post-closing payments would be provided to Cevallos’s real estate firm, Metro Brokers so the defendants could be reimbursed for the cash they had provided to cover the buyer’s down payments, and to provide post-closing commissions from funds that were supposed to go to the seller.
As a result, the lenders were unknowingly funding the down payment for the transactions (as well as undisclosed commissions) from the mortgage proceeds themselves, and were being misled as to the true value of the properties for which they were providing loans.
Sanchez’s sentencing hearing has been set for April 24, 2017, and Cevallos’s sentencing hearing has been set for May 8, 2017.