US Attorney – Miami-Dade Mortgage Fraud Task Force Announces Arrests In $17 Million Mortgage Fraud Scam

TALLAHASSEE, FL – LAWFUEL – Legal Announcement Service – Attorney General Bill McCollum today joined members of
the Mortgage Fraud Task Force in Miami-Dade County in announcing the
arrests of 14 members of a criminal mortgage fraud operation that
defrauded several financial institutions out of more than $17 million. The
arrest warrants were issued following a 10-month investigation conducted
by the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, the
United States Secret Service and the Attorney General’s Office of
Statewide Prosecution. The individuals are facing charges of racketeering,
conspiracy to commit racketeering, mortgage fraud, grand theft, identity
theft and money laundering.

“As mortgage fraud continues to victimize Florida’s homeowners, I am
pleased to see a strong commitment by our local, state and federal
authorities to investigate, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators,” said
Attorney General McCollum.

Authorities believe the scheme involved the use of two separate title
companies located in Miami-Dade County. The conspiring title agents would
prepare fraudulent HUD-1 statements on behalf of the other co-conspirators
which would then be provided to the lender. A HUD-1 settlement statement
is a document that informs the lender how disbursements will be made after
a loan is funded. Many of the HUD-1 statements involved in this case
contained fraudulently inflated sales contract prices. For example, a
seller might believe his or her property sold for $1.6 million, but a
fraudulent HUD-1 statement might reflect the contract sales price for the
property as $2.25 million.

Upon receiving the fraudulent HUD-1 statement, the lender would fund the
loan believing the property sold for the inflated sales price. The title
agent, acting on behalf of the other co-conspirators, would then transfer
the fraudulently obtained profits into a bank account of either a third
party or a shell company controlled by one of the co-conspirators.

The arrest affidavit identifies 18 collateral properties that were used by
the defendants to facilitate their scheme. These properties are located in
Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The vast majority of these properties are
currently in foreclosure because of nonpayment of the loans.

Those in custody are:

– Mario Herrera – DOB 07-29-66
– Deborah H. Herrera – DOB 06-27-66
– Diana G. Diaz – DOB 10-01-67
– Luis H. Garcia-Lopez – DOB 07-24-75
– Mari Rodriguez-Triana – DOB 02-24-64
– Raisa Diaz – DOB 12-11-73
– Mario Jesus Lubian – DOB 10-03-61
– Marlene M Norono – DOB 09-08-60
– Sacha Rodriguez – DOB 12-27-80
– Josephine Martinez – DOB 06-09-74
– Andres Leiva-Medina – DOB 02-04-65
– Danny A. Valdes – DOB 08-04-78
– Neredya Sosa – DOB 03-17-60
– Lashinda Shawtrese Bois Moore – DOB 10-08-78

An additional defendant, Monica Maria Fergusson, was arrested earlier this
week for her participation in the conspiracy. On July 16, 2008, Fergusson,
37, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering, a first-degree
felony punishable up to 30 years in prison. She will be sentenced at a
later date.

The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide is a member of the Miami-Dade
Police Department’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force and prosecutes criminal
cases involving organized crime, racketeering and other
multi-jurisdictional charges.

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