Seven guilty in Sacramento mortgage fraud scheme

Two Sacramento, Calif., defendants were found guilty Tuesday of wire fraud stemming from a fraudulent real estate company that targeted members of Sacramento’s Latino community, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Jaime Mayorga, 40, and Ruben Rodriguez, 42, were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by a federal jury after a six-day trial. Five others indicted on connected charges pleaded guilty, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott of the Eastern District Court of California.

Mayorga, Rodriguez and the other defendants worked for the now-defunct Delta Homes and Lending, a Sacramento-based real estate and mortgage lending company. Delta falsified applications for home loans to obtain mortgages for buyers, many of whom did not and could not qualify for loans without the falsified information on their applications, according to the release.

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Mayorga and Rodriguez were real estate agents and loan officers, the release said.

Delta targeted Sacramento’s Latino community with Spanish-language advertisements that promoted the company’s ability to get home loans for buyers who otherwise did not qualify, the court said. The company also ran advertisements claiming to be “Hispanics Serving Hispanics” and solicited clients at flea markets and by going door-to-door.

“Mayorga and Rodriguez took advantage of members of the Latino community who hoped to become homeowners and manipulated the real estate process for personal gain,” said Scott in the release. “As so often occurs in these cases, the result was losses to the financial institutions and neighborhoods burdened with foreclosed properties. We are grateful for the diligence and professionalism of the FBI in investigating this case.”

According to the court, the defendants falsified income, occupation and personal savings information on loan applications. Straw buyers were also used when the true borrower did not have a sufficient credit score.

The defendants also deposited money into borrowers’ bank accounts to meet the lenders’ requirements that the borrowers have money on hand, the release said. They took the money back after acquiring verification of the deposited funds required by the lenders.

The fraud was personally lucrative for Rodriguez and Mayorga, according to the court. In 2006 alone, Rodriguez estimated that he earned more than $400,000. Mayorga said he earned more than $500,000 in 2005. The seven defendants were indicted in 2011.

Delta opened one branch in 2003 and grew to have several offices in Sacramento, with additional branches in Woodland, Yuba City and Southern California.

The combined value of the homes involved in the fraud was over $10 million, and mortgage lenders and others lost at least $4 million because of the fraud, the court said.

Five other defendants pleaded guilty to related charges. Moctezuma “Mo” Tovar, 49, of Sacramento, who founded Delta; Manuel Herrera, 39, of Davis; Sandra Hermosillo, 57, of Woodland; and Jun Michael Dirain, 46, of Antelope pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the court said.

Christian Parada-Renteria, 43, of Woodland pleaded guilty to two counts of concealing felonies related to the wire fraud conspiracy, according to the court.

Rodriguez and Mayorga are set to be sentenced August 6. Each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Tovar, Herrera, Hermosillo and Dirain do not yet have sentencing dates set. Parada-Renteria was sentenced to one year in prison.

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