WASHINGTON – A loan officer for a Florida mortgage company was sentenced today in Miami to 54 months in prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Inspector General David A. Montoya.
Alejandro aka “Alex” Curbelo, 32, of Miami was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard. In addition to his prison term, Curbelo was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $9.2 million in restitution to HUD. Curbelo was indicted and arrested on Jan. 24, 2012, and pleaded guilty on April 16, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to court documents, from approximately February 2006 through July 2008, Curbelo was employed as a loan officer for Great Country Mortgage Bankers. In this role, he assisted in the sales and financing of condominium units at two complexes in Florida – Dadeland Place and Pelican Cove on the Bay. The borrowers who Curbelo assisted at these two complexes were unqualified to obtain mortgage loans due to insufficient income, high levels of debts and outstanding collections.
Curbelo admitted that he conspired with others to create and submit false and fraudulent Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage loan applications and accompanying documents to the lender on behalf of the unqualified borrowers. Curbelo and others offered the borrowers cash back after closing as an incentive for them to purchase the units. These payments were not disclosed properly during the loan application process. According to court documents, the closing costs were paid on behalf of the borrowers by interstate wire. After the loans closed, the unqualified borrowers failed to meet their monthly mortgage obligations and defaulted on their loans.
According to court documents, when the loans went into foreclosure, HUD, which insured the loans, was required to take title to the units and pay the outstanding loan balances to the lenders. As of the date of the sentencing hearing, HUD paid more than $9.2 million for losses related to Curbelo’s conduct.
This case was investigated by the HUD Office of Inspector General, as participants in the Miami Mortgage Fraud Strike Force. Trial Attorney Mary Ann McCarthy of the Fraud Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division is prosecuting the case with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
This prosecution is part of efforts under way by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.