Real Estate Agent and Straw Borrower Sentenced for Fraud
Yunio Gonzalez, 60, New London, Connecticut, and Jane Soulliere, 45, also of New London, two individuals involved in an eastern Connecticut mortgage fraud scheme, have been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Hartford by Senior United States District Judge Alfred V. Covello.
Gonzalez was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, and Soulliere was sentenced to 21 months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release.
Gonzalez and Soulliere each previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from approximately 2004 to 2007, Jose Guzman, Maurizio Lancia, Stacey Petro and others used mortgage brokerage, property management and home improvement companies to arrange for individuals ("borrowers") to purchase real estate, primarily residential housing properties located in New London County, Connecticut, by obtaining funding from various mortgage companies and mortgage originators after submitting false information on the borrowers' mortgage loan applications.
The fraudulent information included information regarding income, assets, employment, rent history, as well as the borrowers' intention to make the properties their primary residence. The borrowers were compensated for participating in the scheme.
Gonzalez, the owner of IEK Professional Services, a bookkeeping and tax preparation service, was instrumental in providing false information to the lenders in connection with the purchases of a small number of properties. In February 2006, in connection with the purchase of 10 Thompson Court, New London, Connecticut, Gonzalez signed a letter from IEK Professional Services on behalf of a borrower falsely stating that the borrower had been employed at The Cutting Edge, a home improvement contractor and landscaping company, as a landscaping maintenance supervisor. Gonzalez also made false statements to the lender when the lender sought to verify this employment information, and also falsely stated to the lender that he had been preparing taxes for the borrower for at least three years.
In addition, Gonzalez, who also was a licensed real estate agent, recruited a member of his family to act a buyer in connection with a fraudulent real estate transaction in which Gonzalez acted as the seller. In June 2006, Gonzalez sold 34 Montauk Avenue, New London, Connecticut. In order to secure funding from the lenders for this property, Gonzalez knowingly signed mortgage loan applications and supporting documents that contained materially false and fraudulent representations. He then signed an open-end mortgage deed and a HUD-1 settlement that also contained false information.
These two property transactions have resulted in losses of approximately $295,762.17 to lenders and, as part of his sentence, Gonzalez was ordered to make full restitution. He also was ordered to forfeit $25,000 of fraudulently obtained proceeds.
Soulliere acted as a borrower in connection with the fraudulent purchase of five properties. She also recruited another individual who acted as a borrower in the purchase of four additional properties. Soulliere was paid a total of approximately $28,000 for participating in this conspiracy. However, her fraudulent conduct caused a loss of more than $1 million to lending institutions. As part of her sentence, Soulliere was ordered to make restitution of approximately $901,152 and to forfeit $28,000 of fraudulently obtained proceeds.
According to previously filed court documents, the government believes that more than 200 fraudulent mortgages were funded through this mortgage fraud scheme. Many of the properties have been foreclosed on and lenders have suffered losses of approximately $9 million.
A total of 16 individuals have pleaded guilty to various charges stemming from this scheme. On April 3, 2012, Lancia, an attorney and mortgage broker, was sentenced to 27 months of imprisonment. Guzman and Petro await sentencing.
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announcedthe sentences.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. McGarry and David T. Huang.
The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.
This case was brought in coordination with the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.
source: Mortgage Fraud Blog