Federal charges accuse former mortgage broker of real estate fraud in Miami-Dade

A mortgage broker is facing federal mortgage fraud charges in Miami as part of a statewide investigation into a fraud ring, the Miami Herald reported.

The charges come nearly two years after a Miami Herald series, Borrowers Betrayed, which detailed the Homestead mortgage broker’s alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar loan scam involving more than $550 million in mortgages from throughout Florida. The woman faces charges in connection with two properties in Southwest Miami-Dade County, including making up employment information, assets and annual income for the borrowers. The borrowers were her relatives.

The Herald’s investigation alleged that the defendant brokered $22 million in loans over an 18-month period out of a little, nondescript office on South Dixie Highway. A New York banker was convicted of racketeering for his role in the crimes and is serving an 18-month prison sentence.

A federal grand jury also indicted her daughter, brother and son-in-law. Loans on the two properties in question totaled more than $500,000.

Instances of alleged Miami mortgage fraud involving family members have become common in South Florida. Last week, our Miami Criminal Attorney Blog reported the case of a mother and son charged with real estate fraud. In March, we reported a Miami real estate fraud case in which two men were sentenced to 45 months in prison for obtaining fraudulent loans totaling $1 million. One of the defendants used financial information from a mother-in-law in obtaining the loan.

Florida is second only to California for the number of mortgage fraud cases in the last five years, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Nationwide, 1 in 4 mortgage fraud claims occur in the southeastern United States, primarily Florida.