Antoaneta Iotova and Issak Almaleh of Hollywood, Florida were arrested on January 25 for their alleged involvement in a bank fraud scheme involving properties in Florida and New York estimated to be worth $17 million.
They are being charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and making false statements to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC). It is unclear if they have acquired the services of an attorney.
According to the arrest report, Iotova, 51, and Almaleh, 63, allegedly forged the title deeds of several properties in Florida and New York and then used those documents to victimize tenants and residents. They reportedly targeted real estate in foreclosure that was owned by institutions insured by the FDIC.
The pair purportedly filed fake deeds to fraudulently transfer ownership of the properties to companies they own. Investigators said the corporations they used to run the alleged fraud scheme are Women in International Relations, New York Sport Foundation, and New York Mortgage Corp.
Almaleh, who is a notary, would purportedly notarize the papers as genuinely signed by bank representatives and Iotova would sign them as a representative of the corporations they controlled. Using a forged deed that claimed a property belonged to New York Mortgage Corp., Almaleh and Iotova allegedly evicted a resident in Hollywood with police help in 2015 and changed the locks on the property. The resident was reportedly allowed to return after an emergency court hearing.
The pair also allegedly used another fake deed to claim a property in Hallandale Beach belonged to them and scammed two people into signing lease agreements with cash deposits. A few days later, the two tenants were informed by the bank that their lease agreements were invalid and that they needed to vacate immediately.