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Houston fugitives in custody on mortgage fraud charges

If convicted, the three fraudsters face up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $1 million maximum fine

Three alleged charlatans from Houston have been nabbed by federal authorities and taken into custody on charges related to mortgage fraud, credit repair and government loan fraud, the Department of Justice said on Friday.

The DOJ claims that Heather Ann Campos, David Lewis Best Jr. and Stephen Laverne Crabtree were evading law enforcement for “several months.” Some of their alleged co-conspirators, including Steven Tetsuya Morizono, Melinda Moreno Munoz, Elvina Buckley, were indicted earlier this year.

If convicted, all three face up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $1 million maximum fine, the DOJ said.

The DOJ said Campos and Best have been evading authorities since January after they were both indicted for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage lending businesses, banks, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Trade Commission.

Initially, Campos and Best agreed to self-surrender, but then opted to hide instead. Crabtree, on the other hand, was released on bond earlier in January and became a fugitive, the DOJ claims.

DOJ alleges that Campos, a mortgage broker, and Best created a slew of credit repair companies dubbed KMD Credit, KMD Capital and Jeff Funding and “cleaned” their clients credit histories by filing false identity theft reports with the FTC. Buckley worked as a Realtor in this alleged scheme and Munoz was operating as a notary. Family and friends were also invited to join, the government claims.

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The DOJ alleges the fraudsters inflated client credit worthiness and obtained credit cards, disaster loans and mortgages for themselves and their clients. According to the DOJ, Campos and Best used false statements and documents to do so.

Further, the fraudsters used their clients’ names to obtain rental properties and built a real estate portfolio worth “millions of dollars.”

In addition, they allegedly obtained loans from the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program and Paycheck Protection Program. They were created in the names of clients, friends, and family members through fake or altered documents, the DOJ said.

The DOJ did not specify how long the alleged ruse went on.

Prior to their arrest, Campos, Best and Crabtree allegedly sent numerous sovereign citizen letters to federal agencies and the federal court in Houston declaring themselves immune from prosecution and refusing to recognize the authority of the federal courts.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General, the Postal Inspection Service and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation.

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