The co-owner of a mortgage company was sentenced to 21 months in prison after a long-funning large-scale mortgage fraud scheme caused millions in losses, U.S. attorney Paul Fishman stated.
Lester Soto of Freehold, New Jersey pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Today, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas imposed the sentence in Newark federal.
In addition to his prison time, Soto must also serve five years of supervised release and pay restitution of nearly $3.8 million.
Other conspirators also received prison sentences. Klary Arcentales of Lyndhurst, New Jersey got 18 months in prison along with his settlement agent Linda Cohen of Orange, New Jersey, who was sentenced to six months in prison.
According to statements from court and the documents from this and other cases:
Soto and others, such as face document creators, a complicit lawyer and paralegal and numerous loan officers, committed two related mortgage fraud conspiracies using a company called Premier Mortgage Services. Their prime target was low-income areas in New Jersey.
Soto also acted as a loan officer on certain Premier mortgage loan applications, taking a percentage.
Other conspirators also included Isaac DePaula of Brazil, Adilson Silva on Union New Jersey and Arcentales, who were loan officers at Premier.
Fraudulently obtained mortgage proceedings were often performed through shell corporations or nominee bank accounts.
After recruiting “straw buyers,” someone who buys something on behalf of someone else in order to enable fraud, Soto and his conspirators used several fraudulent documents in order to appear as though these straw buyers had more assets and income than they really had.