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Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Real Estate Crooks Plead Guilty

SAN DIEGO (CN) - Four real estate crooks who owned, operated or worked for "Century 21 El Dorado" of San Marcos targeted Hispanics and defrauded subprime lenders of $80 million in loans, from which they took $1.1 million in commissions. The four pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges of wire fraud and conspiracy.

Alejandro Lopez and Emilio Lopez owned and operated the real estate office, where Ravinderjit Singh Sekon was a loan officer and Linda Velasquez was officer manager. They brokered fraudulent loans averaging $400,000 apiece for more than 200 unqualified clients, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. To get the loans from the subprime lenders, who offered the loans at high interest rates without requiring income verification, the conspirators cooked up and submitted phony documents. They solicited clients at swap meets and in Spanish-language newspapers and fliers and on Spanish-language radio.

They admitted using straw buyers, inflating clients' incomes and bank accounts, falsifying rent, income and credit information, misrepresented clients as U.S. citizens, altered Social Security cards and bank statements, paid tax preparers for fraudulent documents, and impersonated employers landlords and creditors if lenders called to check references.

They will forfeit the $1.1 million they made in commissions and will be sentenced on Feb. 4.

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