A family of three pleaded guilty to a wide range of identity theft charges in a case in Washington state involving home loans totaling around $2 million, officials said Wednesday.
Mildreada Ruiz Rapa, 47, formerly of Vancouver, Wash., and her daughter Malanie Andrews, 24, also formerly of Vancouver, entered guilty pleas Wednesday in Tacoma, Wash., to a wide range of identity theft related charges that included real estate fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice Attorney for the Western District of Washington said.
In October 2005, Michael Andrews, Rapa’s son, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and $243,224 in restitution after pleading guilty to related identity theft charges, officials said.
The case began in September 2003, when the defendants allegedly used a series of phony identities to obtain car loans in Vancouver, Wash., officials said. When arrested, the family posted a fraudulent bond to get out of jail and then fled, according to officials.
According to court records, the original automobile purchases and car loans were made in a series of identities each defendant had crafted over time, officials said. The alleged false identities were bolstered by Washington driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, credit cards and other items, according to officials.
The defendants then allegedly used the same false identities to purchase seven residential properties in the Vancouver and Portland area, officials said.
The homes and corresponding bank loans ranged from $180,000 to $450,000, and totaled about $2 million, according to officials.
In each instance the defendants allegedly created entirely fictitious histories, accompanied by false asset and income information, the Department of Justice said.
The real estate purchases were timed to close on almost simultaneous dates so the banks’ underwriting procedures wouldn’t disclose the other loans, officials said.
No payments were ever made on the loans, and when the defendants fled the lenders were forced to foreclose on the properties, causing a net loss to the banks of more than $500,000, officials said.
Once in possession of the different properties, the defendants used them as adult foster care facilities and collected rents from occupants, according to officials. Those rents were substantial, and provided defendants a steady income, officials said.
While living in Vancouver, Rapa filed income tax forms in her own false identities and those of her children, officials alleged.