Two Florida men have been sentenced to federal prison after admitting their roles in a mortgage fraud conspiracy that resulted in about $5.8 million in total losses to mortgage lenders, the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida announced.
District Judge Susan Bucklew sentenced Alejandro Tobon and Carlos Escarria to 37 months and 18 months in federal prison, respectively. The men pleaded guilty in June.
According to court documents, Tobon and Escarria conspired with other to fraudulently sell units in a Tampa condominium complex. The conspiracy took place from as early as October 2007 through May 2008. Under the scheme, the conspirators offered to pay buyers cash either before or after closing to entice them to purchase the units.
The conspirators also induced mortgage lenders to approve loans for otherwise unqualified borrowers for the condo unit purchases. They made false statements on loan documents, such as purchase and sale agreements and loan applications, and on HUD-1 settlement statements. The lenders were not made aware of these payments, with the conspirators using several entities to conceal the cash payments from the lenders.
Tobon, who managed the Tampa branch of Transcontinental Lending Group and was also the president of Tobon Marketing and Consultant, submitted fraudulent loan applications in furtherance of the fraud scheme. Tobon also marketed units to buyers with undisclosed incentives and transferred funds he had received from the developer through Tobon Marketing to the bank accounts of borrowers who needed money to close on the purchases. The money was then used to provide the down payment and cash to close requirements.
Escarria, who was a loan officer in the branch Tobon managed, participated in the scheme by signing fraudulent loan applications. The mortgage lenders relied upon false representations about occupancy, income, source of funds, and assets that were submitted to them.
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