Three Florida residents were arrested last week for mortgage fraud, authorities said.
According to investigators, Jacqueline Lopez, 50, of Pembroke Pines; Brahms Alexis, 28, of Sunrise; and Marjorie Lawrence, 44, of Miami Gardens; were part of a mortgage fraud scam that involved identity and grand theft.
Federal authorities arrived at a Hollywood, Fla., title company Wednesday night to arrest the suspects after a pre-existing and ongoing investigation into the questionable real estate practices of one of the suspects led investigators to uncover them.
The arrests are the result of a joint investigation between the Broward Sheriff’s Office Economic Crime Unit, the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the U.S. Secret Service.
Investigators charge that Lopez, an inactive licensed real estate agent, stole the identity of one of her clients and provided it to Alexis, a licensed mortgage broker. Alexis, in turn, allegedly shopped the information around and secured two mortgages under the unwitting victim’s name for a sum of $890,000.
The mortgages were generated to close on a Miramar property currently on the market for $712,000, authorities alleged. Police charged that the suspects intended to pocket the difference of $178,000, and quickly resell the property before the identity theft victim received the first mortgage bill.
Detectives, examiners and U.S. Secret Service agents set up surveillance outside the offices of the title company the trio used to seal the deal on Sept. 7, according to a statement from the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The title company was not involved in the scheme, authorities said.
Lawrence is accused of posing as the identity theft victim and signing the closing documents in the victim’s name. When all were ready to leave, investigators stepped in.
Lopez, Alexis and Lawrence are all currently being held at the Broward Sheriff’s Main Jail. Lopez and Alexis are charged with identity theft, mortgage fraud and grand theft. Both are being held on $36,000 bond. Lawrence is charged with identity theft and is being held on $3,500 bond.
The investigation is ongoing.
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