Miami, Florida – This week, a Federal District Judge sent six South Florida residents and a New Jersey resident to federal prison for their roles in a fraud scheme involving identity theft, creation and l ‘use of fake foreign passports, homeowner identity theft and forgery of loan documents to trick lenders into providing millions of dollars in mortgages on unencumbered residential properties.
The scheme followed a general scheme. First, scammers would identify mortgage-free residential homes and absentee landlords located in upscale South Florida neighborhoods. Then, using the names and other identifying information of the real owners, the fraudsters created fake passports. Next to the names of the owners, the fraudsters placed photographs of co-conspirators. Some of these co-conspirators have appeared during loan closings masquerading as owners. Fraudsters used the fake passports to apply for mortgages with private lenders and to open bank accounts in the name of homeowners – accounts that lenders transferred loan money to. They used the stolen money to buy luxury cars, expensive watches and other items. In total, the program has drained nearly $ 10 million in equity from South Florida homes.
Prison sentences in this case include:
- Carlos Rafael Castaneda Mendez, 34, of Miami, has been sentenced to 78 months.
- Alejandro Boada Oliveros, 45, of Miami, has been sentenced to 46 months.
- Jonnathan Jesus Gonzalez, 33, of Miami, has been sentenced to 44 months.
- Yanjeisis Alejandra Pompa Villafane, 25, from Hialeah, was sentenced to 28 months.
- Lilia Rosa Morales Moreno, 45, of Miami, was sentenced to 30 months.
- Katherine Hansen Mendoza, 25, of Miami, was sentenced to seven months.
- Isbel Rodriguez Batista, 23, of Teaneck, New Jersey was sentenced to 30 months.
Charges against other defendants are pending. An indictment is only a charge and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Brian Swain, Special Agent, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office; and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
The USSS Miami, HSI Miami and the Aventura Police Department have investigated this matter. Assistant US Attorney Stephanie Hauser is pursuing the case. The assistant of the American prosecutor Nicole Grosnoff takes care of the confiscation of the assets.
Court documents and related information are available on the South Florida District Court website at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under file number: 20-cr-20155.