Eight people were arrested this morning on suspicion of carrying out a mortgage fraud scheme of filing bogus loan applications that generated hefty fees and commissions for the suspects while causing $11 million in losses for lenders when the homes went into foreclosure.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s office began the investigation into Oxnard-based New Concepts Home Loans that lead to an investigation by the FBI. Federal and Ventura County authorities eventually believed that members of the scheme generated dozens of mortgage loans for unqualified borrowers, many of whom were low-income Spanish speakers, and secured an indictment from a grand jury.
According to an FBI press release, the indictment lays out how Camarillo resident Jose Garcia allegedly ran the scheme out of an Oxnard-based company called New Concepts Home Loans, where members of the alleged conspiracy prepared mortgage applications that contained false information about borrowers’ income, employment and assets. As part of the scheme, according to the indictment, Jose Garcia’s wife and others obtained bogus “CPA letters” from tax preparers that falsely stated the mortgage applicants were engaged in a particular business.
The defendants allegedly made an average of $10,000 in fees and commissions over dozens of loan applications, federal officials said. The victim lenders who suffered losses as a result of the alleged scheme include Washington Mutual Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Countrywide Bank, IndyMac Bank, SunTrust Bank, World Savings Bank and JPMorgan Chase Bank, according to federal officials.
“Jose Garcia and his cohorts are alleged to have lured unsophisticated borrowers with promises of putting them into homes they clearly could not afford,” U.S. Attorney André Birotte, Jr. said in a press release. “But this American dream quickly turned into a nightmare for these borrowers when they realized they could not afford their new homes. All the while, real estate professionals like Jose Garcia reaped huge profits from the fraudulent loans that they brokered.”
“These arrests for serious federal crimes illustrate the tenacity of state and federal law enforcement to continue our years-long effort to bring to justice those who perpetrated real estate fraud-based crimes against unsuspecting, often monolingual, victims in our communities,” Ventura County District Attorney Gregory D. Totten said in a release.
The following people were charged, according to federal authorities:
- Jose “Joe” Bautista Garcia, 46, of Camarillo, a real estate broker who, in addition to New Concepts, owned Century 21 Premier Realty and who allegedly directed agents to go door-to-door and “cold call” unqualified borrowers in Ventura County
- Lucy Ann Garcia, Jose Garcia’s wife, 46, also of Camarillo, who co-owned New Concepts
- Jose Fernando Murguia, 47, of Oxnard, a loan officer at New Concepts
- Sesilia Garcia, one of Jose Garcia’s sisters, 30, of Oxnard, a loan officer at New Concepts
- Lili Ayala Hernandez, 41, of Oxnard, a loan officer at New Concepts
- Lidubina “Lido” Mendoza Perez, 41, of Moreno Valley, a loan officer who worked at New Concepts’ office in Bakersfield
- Gregg Scott Quinn, 40, of Camarillo, a loan officer at New Concepts
- Cesar Rodriguez Azamar, 36, of Santa Paula, an employee of New Concepts
All the defendants in this case face a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if they are convicted of the conspiracy count in the indictment, the government said.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Ventura County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation; the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General; and the United States Secret Service.