Mortgage Loan Officer and Real Estate Agents Charged in Mortgage Fraud Scheme in California
August 27, 2022 – FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned an indictment against German Antonio Lopez-Velasquez, 55, of Modesto; Marko Antonio Lopez, 27, of Modesto; and Lisa Marie Santos, 48, of Long Beach, charging them with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
Lopez-Velasquez was also charged with witness tampering. He is alleged to have attempted to persuade an individual to make false statements to law enforcement officers regarding a mortgage loan under investigation.
According to court documents, Lopez-Velasquez and Lopez, who were both real estate agents, worked with Santos, a mortgage loan officer, to obtain fraudulent mortgage loans for properties based in Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County, Santa Clara County, and elsewhere. The three utilized false documents, fictional companies, and fictional individuals to obtain mortgage loans for borrowers who were not qualified to receive loans. In total, the defendants caused lenders to issue at least 30 loans based on false information with a total principal loan balance exceeding $10 million.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Spivak is prosecuting the case.
“The FHFA-OIG is committed to holding accountable those who waste, steal, or abuse the resources of the Government-Sponsored Enterprises regulated by FHFA, which the defendants have been charged with defrauding,” said Jay Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FHFA-OIG, Western Regional Office. “We are proud to have worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners on this case and to demonstrate, once again, that FHFA-OIG will investigate and hold accountable those who seek to victimize the Government-Sponsored Enterprises supervised and regulated by FHFA.”
“This case demonstrates HUD OIG’s commitment to pursuing and bringing to justice those who put Federal programs, such as the FHA Mortgage Insurance Fund at risk for their own enrichment,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark T. Kaminsky with HUD OIG Office of Investigation. “HUD OIG remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners and the US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California to investigate and hold accountable those who perpetrate mortgage fraud in central California.”
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. If convicted, Lopez‑Velasquez faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for witness tampering. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Attachment(s): Download Indictment
Source: DOJ Release
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