Sunday, July 15, 2012

Four Individuals Indicted in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

TAMPA—United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Jesus Sira (32), Nestor Urdaneta (29), Maria Urdaneta (32), and Vanessa Urdaneta (28) with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in relation to a mortgage fraud scheme. The indictment also charges eight related substantive charges. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. The indictment also notifies the individuals that the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of $1,848,750 collectively, the proceeds of the charged mortgage fraud conspiracy. Nestor and Vanessa Urdaneta, husband and wife, reside in Tampa, as does Maria Urdaneta. Jesus Sira’s location is presently unknown.

According to the indictment and court proceedings, the four individuals participated in a mortgage fraud conspiracy in which some conspirators entered into agreements to purchase properties for amounts in excess of the original asking price. The conspirators then inserted false and fraudulent information about the various conspirator-purchasers on mortgage loan applications, or Fannie Mae Form 1003s, which were submitted in support of the loan requests. Upon the closing of each sale transaction, the conspirators used a portion of the inflated loan proceeds to pay the seller the original asking price for the property. The remaining excess funds—the gap amount between the original asking price and the inflated mortgage loan amount—were then shared amongst the conspirators, who allowed the purchased properties to fall into foreclosure.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay G. Trezevant.

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