Mortgage agent and real estate agents charged with mortgage fraud scheme in California’s Central Valley

August 27, 2022 – FRESNO, California – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment against German Antonio Lopez-Velasquez, 55, of Modesto; Marko Antonio Lopez, 27, of Modesto; and Lisa Marie Santos, 48, of Long Beach, charging them with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said.

Lopez-Velasquez was also charged with witness tampering. He allegedly tried to persuade an individual to make false statements to law enforcement regarding a mortgage loan under investigation.

According to court documents, Lopez-Velasquez and Lopez, who were both realtors, worked with Santos, a mortgage loan officer, to obtain fraudulent mortgages for properties based in Stanislaus County, San Joaquin, Santa Clara County and elsewhere. The three used false documents, fictitious companies and fictitious individuals to obtain mortgage loans for borrowers who were not qualified to receive loans. In total, defendants caused lenders to issue at least 30 loans based on false information with a total loan principal balance exceeding $10 million.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), the US Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), and the US Postal Inspection Service. (USPI). Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Spivak is prosecuting the case.

“The FHFA-OIG is committed to holding accountable those who waste, steal, or abuse the resources of government-sponsored businesses regulated by the FHFA, which the defendants have been accused of defrauding,” said Jay Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FHFA-OIG, Western Regional Office. “We are proud to have worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners on this case and to demonstrate, once again, that the FHFA-OIG will investigate and hold accountable those who seek to victimize government-sponsored businesses overseen and regulated by FHFA.

“This case demonstrates HUD OIG’s commitment to prosecuting and bringing to justice those who endanger federal programs, such as the FHA Mortgage Insurance Fund, for their own enrichment,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark T. Kaminsky of the HUD OIG Office of Investigation. “HUD OIG remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California to investigate and hold accountable those who commit mortgage fraud in Central California.”

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. If convicted, Lopez-Velasquez faces a maximum legal sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for witness tampering. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after considering all applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which consider a number of variables. Accusations are only allegations; defendants are presumed innocent until and unless their guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Attachments : Download the indictment

Source: DOJ Press Release

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