Orlando, FL –United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg the return by a grand jury of an indictment charging Maria Del Carmen Montes (46, Kissimmee) with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, four counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, Montes faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison on the conspiracy count, up to 30 years for each fraud count, and a mandatory penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment for the aggravated identity theft count. The indictment also charges Montes’ husband Carlos Ferrer (45, Kissimmee) with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and three counts of bank fraud. If convicted, Ferrer faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison for the conspiracy count, and up to, 30 years’ imprisonment for each fraud count.
According to the Indictment, Montes and Ferrer conspired to create and executed a mortgage fraud scheme targeting financial institutions. To ensure that otherwise unqualified borrowers she was representing as a licensed realtor were approved for mortgage loans, Montes created fictitious and fraudulent paystubs and IRS Form W-2s in the names of companies for whom her clients had never worked. The bogus income documents falsely indicated that her clients had worked at these companies, including companies formed and controlled by Ferrer, for a certain period of time and earned income that they did not. Montes submitted the fictitious paystubs and W-2s she created to the financial institutions who relied on them when making underwriting decisions. Additionally, Montes used her clients’ personally identifying information on these documents without their knowledge or authorization.
In order to further deceive the mortgage lenders, Montes and Ferrer recruited a co-conspirator working at a company listed on certain false paystubs and W-2s to falsely certify Verifications of Employment (VOEs”) sent by the financial institutions and instructed the co-conspirator to lie to the final institutions when they called to further verify the borrower’s employment. Ferrer and Montes sent the false and fictitious paystubs and W-2s to the co-conspirator so the co-conspirator could put the false information on the VOEs before certifying, signing, and returning them to the financial institutions. Ferrer also falsely certified and emailed VOEs sent by the financial institution in the names of borrowers that he knew did not work for his companies and lied to the banks during verbal VOE checks. Based on Montes’ and Ferrer’s misrepresentations, the financial institutions approved and funded the mortgage loans.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor.