Two Colorado real estate agents were indicted Tuesday on charges related to fraud on illegal home loans, officials said.
William E. Mendez, 40, of Lakewood, Colo., and Claudia M. Mendez, 33, of Lakewood, face charges of wire fraud related to falsifying documentation to illegally obtain home loans for people who did not qualify, a U.S. Attorney said.
Also named in a second superseding indictment was Benedicta Gomez, 48, of Denver, for allegedly preparing the false documents for the bogus loans.
William and Claudia Mendez were arrested Wednesday without incident, officials said, and Gomez will receive a summons.
In its crackdown on real estate-related fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said it has obtained 12 indictments charging 84 defendants with various types of mortgage lender or buyer fraud since early 2003.
According to the Mendez indictment, between July 2000, and November 2002, the defendants operated and/or worked at the Mendez Team real estate agency in Lakewood, Colo. William and Claudia Mendez and others previously indicted are accused of assisting home buyers, whom they knew to be illegal aliens or otherwise unqualified to obtain FHA-backed loans, in preparing and completing loan applications with false information.
In the process, Benedicta Gomez, allegedly prepared false tax returns that would enable the home buyers to obtain loans backed by FHA mortgage insurance.
Once the fraudulent applications and false documents were prepared, defendants allegedly submitted them to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
William Mendez then allegedly would compensate his employees acting as real estate agents by paying them approximately half of the commissions earned from the fraudulent deals.
The indictment includes a criminal forfeiture count, where, if convicted, the defendants will be required to pay $80,654, which constitutes the traceable proceeds derived from the criminal activity.
Each faces possible prison time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
The case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General for HUD and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch.
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