Three Ordered to Prison in Multi-Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 28, 2014|
HOUSTON—Former Houston resident Walter Ryan Macapaz has been ordered to prison along with Houston businessman Tony David Maldonado and attorney and former mortgage loan officer Buffy Marie Lawrence for their roles in a scheme to defraud residential mortgage lenders of more than $22 million in loans, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson, along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz.
Today, U.S. District Judge Gray Miller, who accepted the guilty pleas, handed Macapaz, 36, a sentence of 108 months in federal prison, while Maldonado, 33, and Lawrence, 42, will serve respective sentences of 24 and 12 months. All three defendants will be required to serve a term of three years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms. In handing down the sentences, Judge Miller noted the seriousness of the offenses.
A fourth defendant, attorney and former title company escrow officer Lisa Carol Ross, 52, of Missouri City, also pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to 13 months in prison on May 17, 2013.
All were indicted in 2011 in a scheme to defraud residential mortgage lenders. The conspirators used fraudulent documents to help borrowers qualify for mortgage loans to purchase condominium units in the Commerce Towers building located on Main Street in downtown Houston, as well as residential homes in the Houston area. The documents had false and misleading information about the borrowers’ income, assets, liabilities, employment status, bank deposits, rental payments, intent to use properties as a primary residence, and source of funds used to close the real estate transactions.
Macapaz and Lawrence have admitted they knowingly arranged for borrowers to submit the false documents to mortgage lenders in order to obtain loans, while Maldonado has admitted he knowingly created some of the false documentation.
Previously released on bond, Macapaz was taken into custody following the sentencing today where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. Maldonado and Lawrence were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI, IRS-CI, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General, and Houston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney John Lewis is prosecuting the case.