Four Charged in Multi-Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 24, 2011|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and Jason Moran, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging Angel Puentes, a/k/a Salvatore D’ Angelo a/k/a D’Angelo Salvatore, 37, of West Palm Beach; Dania L. Aleman, 45, of Hialeah; Angela M. Frye, 47, of Miami; and David R. Burgos, 40, of Hialeah, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; 14 counts of substantive wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343; and eight counts of substantive bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344. Through this scheme, the defendants allegedly defrauded three financial institutions of approximately $10.5 million in fraudulent mortgage loans. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment for the conspiracy and each of the bank fraud counts and 20 years’ imprisonment for each of the wire fraud counts.
According to the indictment, Angel Puentes was involved in the fraudulent financing of at least 11 residential properties in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Throughout the time of the conspiracy, Puentes recruited Angela Frye, a loan processor, to create false loan applications to obtain mortgage loans on behalf of other individuals who would not have otherwise qualified for the mortgage loans. Burgos acted as a recruiter of individuals who would sell their credit to Puentes to facilitate the fraudulent purchase of real estate. Burgos also posed as a straw buyer during the conspiracy.
According to the indictment, Puentes and Aleman would cause the creation of two different HUD-1 Statements, one given to the lender and the other to the seller. In one of the forms, they would falsely inflate the sales prices and amount of the loans that could be obtained from the lenders. Puentes, Aleman, and their co-conspirators also failed to record the necessary title and mortgage documents with the county authorities. This allowed Puentes, Aleman, and their co-conspirators to induce other lenders into issuing double first mortgages on particular properties. In this way, the conspirators illegally syphoned off additional profits from the mortgage proceeds for personal use.
Once the property was purchased, Puentes, Aleman, Frye, and their co-conspirators would arrange to make the payments until they could resell, or flip, the property at an inflated purchase price. With the profits made from flipping the properties to other straw purchasers, the defendants continued to buy properties and pay outstanding mortgage payments for properties bought during the scheme. Eventually, the defendants stopped making the loan payments and the properties fell into foreclosure. The foreclosures resulted in significant losses to WMC Mortgage, Countrywide Home Loans, JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. and other lenders.
Mr. Ferrer commended the efforts of the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the FDIC. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristina Pérez Soto.
An indictment is only an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.