Miami accountant pleads guilty to $31 million bank fraud
Berta Sanders, a CPA from Miami Lakes, Fla., has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud against Wells Fargo, according to a multi-agency announcement. Between 2005 and 2008, Sanders conspired to submit false loan applications to the former Wachovia Bank (later acquired by Wells Fargo) in order to obtain about $12 million in commercial lines of credit, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer in Florida. Sanders prepared fraudulent loan applications on behalf of borrowers, which contained false information about the borrower’s business income, assets and accounts receivable, according to the news release. Sanders also prepared false tax returns, bank statements and personal financial statements in connection with the line of credit applications. The scheme involved several kickbacks. Borrowers paid Sanders a fee of approximately 10% of the loan amount for the falsified documents. Sanders then paid a portion of these fees to a Wachovia bank officer as compensation for his assistance in preparing and processing the fraudulent applications, authorities who investigated the case said. The investigation included multiple agencies working in conjunction with President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. Information was not immediately available on when Sanders would be sentenced. Write to Kerry Curry.