U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of California
(415) 436-7200
March 19, 2015

Bay Area Woman Sentenced to Prison for Real Estate Loan Fraud Scheme

SAN FRANCISCO—Joyce Esther De Armero was sentenced yesterday to 12 months and one day in prison, and ordered to pay restitution for mail fraud, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.

De Armero, 37, of San Jose, pleaded guilty on December 4, 2014, to mail fraud. According to the plea agreement, De Armero admitted that she devised a scheme to defraud investors by convincing them to invest in high-interest real estate loans between July 2008 and January 2010. She told the investors that she would invest their money in real estate loans with guaranteed returns. De Armero never made the investments and instead used the funds for her own personal expenses. She also used some of the funds from later investments to pay what she claimed were returns on earlier investments, and thereby perpetuated her fraud scheme. Altogether, she obtained no less than $180,000 from her victims. On October 31, 2013, De Armero was indicted by a federal grand jury; she was charged with mail fraud in connection with her real estate loan investment fraud scheme.

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Charles R. Breyer, U.S. District Judge, following a guilty plea on one count charging a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341. Judge Breyer also sentenced the defendant to a three year period of supervised release. The defendant will begin serving the sentence on May 29, 2015.

Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Rees, Philip Kopczynski, and Acadia Senese are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Beth Margen and Trina Khadoo. The prosecution is the result of a referral from the United States Trustee’s Office of the Northern District of California and an investigation by the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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