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More arrests made in another miami mortgage fraud scheme

Posted on August 03, 2009 3:00 AM EST

In Miami, Florida, more than 40 people were charged in a mortgage fraud scheme that exceeded more than 40 million dollars. In total, six cases were filed against those arrested. The announcement is part of the mortgage fraud crackdown which began in 2007. The investigations are targeting all levels of individuals accused of perpetrating mortgage fraud. Among those arrested include real estate agents, mortgage brokers, attorneys, title agents and straw buyers. These arrests obviate the increased need for lawyers who specialize in defending mortgage fraud cases.

In one of the cases, 19 Miami-Dade County residents were arrested and charged for their involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme that in exceeded 21 million dollars. Several Miami companies were involved in the fraud. All of the companies were owned by Magile Cruz, who has since pled guilty and has been sentenced to ten years in prison. The majority of the charges stem from false loan applications and straw buyers.

In another case, 13 Miami-Dade county residents were charged in an indictment that alleges 4 million dollars in ill-gotten gains from a mortgage fraud scheme. Richard Pi and Bryan Guarch conceived the scheme that again involved fraudulent loan documents and straw buyers. The two individuals are alleged to have obtained large sums of money from lending institutions to buy large houses and expensive automobiles for themselves.

Another case involved Stephen Lalonde of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. His indictment alleges that he was involved in a real estate scheme to defraud where he stole in excess of 1 million dollars. His fraud involved stealing from legitimate buyers, mortgage lenders and title companies. Lalonde stole money that was supposed to be used to pay off existing mortgages for legitimate borrowers. Rather than pay off the loans, he kept the money to fund his lavish lifestyle.

In another indictment, Milennys Foira and Richard Diaz, of Miami, paid an individual $10,000 to use his identity to buy real estate in the Miami area. Foria and Diaz obtained the loan and kept the money for themselves rather than to pay for the home which has since fallen into foreclosure. "The success of the Federal-State Mortgage Strike Force and mortgage fraud crackdown is evident in the staggering number of prosecutions we have brought to date," said Michael J. Folmer, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Dozens Charged with Mortgage Fraud Totaling $40M, South Florida Business Journal, July 29, 2009
Categories: Fraud