Former Johnston Woman Sentenced for $1.7 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 09, 2009|
A federal judge today sentenced Lisa Torres, 41, formerly of Johnston, to 46 months in federal prison for a $1.7 million mortgage fraud scheme. In October, Torres admitted that she purchased properties that had recently been foreclosed upon and then used the names of straw purchasers in sham sales at inflated prices to fraudulently obtain mortgage financing.
United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced the sentence, which Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi imposed in U.S. District Court, Providence.
At a plea hearing in October, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker said the government could prove that, between October 2007 and June 2008, Torres purchased nine residential properties in Providence. She then enlisted the aid of others, some willing participants, others unwitting dupes, to arrange sham sales of the properties in order to obtain mortgage financing.
The loan proceeds went to Torres, the purported seller of the properties, so she profited about $674,000, which was the difference between what she had paid for the properties, about $1,086,000, and the amount of financing she received for the sham sales, about $1,760,000.
Torres used a variety of ruses to enlist the aid of the straw purchasers, suggested to them that they were not really buying the properties, and told them that she would actually service the mortgages. However, Torres failed to service the mortgages, which went into default.
To secure the financing, Torres engaged the services of coconspirators, who fabricated W-2 forms, pay stubs, and bank account balances to misrepresent the employment status and credit worthiness of the sham buyers.
Judge Lisi scheduled a hearing for February 12 to determine the amount of restitution Torres must pay.
Torres is serving a federal prison sentence for an unrelated case in which she conspired with two attorneys to sell to drug dealers information supporting false claims that they had cooperated with federal investigators. That case was prosecuted in U.S. District Court, Massachusetts. Torres was due to be released on January 26 before being sentenced today.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation.