Juan Carlos Sanches, Quelyory Rigal, Sandra Campo, Celeste Mota, Dayanara Montero, Osbelia Lazardi, and David Arboleda were all accused of committing mortgage fraud in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, according to a recent announcement by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. The defendants, the majority of whom are believed to be incarcerated in Florida federal prisons, have already made initial court appearances. It is not clear whether any of them are eligible to receive bail bond, nor is it known whether any one of them has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
All of the defendants save Juan Carlos Sanchez and Sandra Campo are reportedly from Florida. Sanchez, 39, is from New York, NY; Campo, 34, is from Colombia, South America, and is apparently still at large. Other than that, the defendants are from South Florida locations: 36-year-old Rigal is from Homestead, 27-year-old Arboleda is from Doral, 29-year-old Mota is from Fort Myers, 36-year-old Mena is from Miami, 36-year-old Rigal is from Homestad, 37-year-old Montero is from Miramar, and 54 year-old Lazardi is from Southwest Ranches. It is likely that Sanchez will be extradited to Fort Lauderdale for prosecution, if he has not been already.
All of the defendants, regardless of their places of residence, are facing federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and substantive counts of wire fraud and mail fraud, and if convicted as charged, could face well over a normal human lifespan in prison. It does not appear as though any of the defendants have spoken publicly about the allegations, which are just some of the many South Florida fraud allegations brought down upon residents recently.
The press release by the Florida State Attorney’s Office states that the defendants are suspected of committing the offenses in connection to a Fort Lauderdale condominium complex called Marina Oaks Condominiums. The investigation into the defendants was purportedly conducted primarily by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General. It remains unclear what caused the investigation to launch.
Regardless of the initial cause of the investigation, detectives reportedly discovered that the defendants were colluding to commit fraud between January 2007 and November 2008. The defendants allegedly brought in approximately $39 million in fraudulent mortgage loans through the scheme, which reportedly started with recruiting buyers for the condominiums by offering them “buyers’ incentives” that were never recorded in closing documents and that mortgage lenders were unaware of. Once the buyers agreed to proceed, the defendants allegedly filled out mortgage applications on behalf of the buyers that included deliberately false information on the buyers’ credit history to ensure that the buyers qualified for loans. The falsified applications were allegedly complete with falsified documentation as evidence of the truth of the applications.
The press release indicates that once the defendants received the fraudulent mortgage funds from the lenders, they kept part of the funds and forwarded the rest on for the intended purpose. It is not clear how much of the $36 million that the defendants allegedly acquired in mortgage loans investigators believe actually ended up in the defendants’ coffers. It is similarly unknown whether the condominium complex was aware of the alleged misconduct taking place in connection to its’ properties and whether it took any action