Six defendants have been charged for their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme that used fraudulent loan applications and supporting documents to convince lenders to fund approximately 20 loans that resulted in $4 million in losses.
The defendants include Anthony Lewis, 38, Maria Arriaza, 33, and Deon Jackson, 36, who were indicted by a federal grand jury on June 23 on three charges of wire fraud and one charge of conspiracy. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of 95 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.
The additional defendants include: Jennifer Le, 29; Matthew Balsz, 31; and Freddy Lentz, 34. Le is charged with conspiracy, while Balsz and Lentz, both former Bank of America employees, are charged with accepting bribes to assist the mortgage fraud scheme.
According to the indictment, Lewis obtained funds from financial institutions by making false statements and omitting material information from loan applications submitted to purchase houses in the names of straw buyers.
Lewis identified properties for purchase and gave fraudulent loan applications to Jackson and Le, who were brokers.
Jackson reviewed the false applications and told Lewis what financial information was necessary to qualify straw borrowers for loans.
Lewis then obtained fraudulent documents such as false bank statements, W-2 forms and pay stubs.
Lewis, Jackson and Le also obtained false verification of deposit forms from the two bank employees allegedly receiving bribes from Lewis. Jackson and Le submitted the fraudulent loan applications to lenders.
Once the loans were approved and funds were wired to Arriaza’s escrow company, Diamond Clear Escrow, Arriaza disbursed funds intended for the purported buyers to the co-conspirators, at Lewis’ directions.
Arriaza concealed the true nature of the disbursements by preparing false settlement statements for the lenders.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.