LOS ANGELES (CN) – Southern California’s Team Realty Group lied to financial institutions to get nearly $3 million in federally insured mortgages for unqualified borrowers, federal prosecutors say. The lengthy complaint claims, for example, that lead defendant Peter Morris and his crew misrepresented a minimum-wage cook with no Social Security number as a restaurant manager who made $60,000 a year. She got an FHA-insured mortgage for more than $200,000.
Morris dba The Team Realty Group and dba Nations West Investments operates out of offices in Riverside, Grand Terrace and La Habra, according to the complaint.
The other defendants: Jeffrey Still, Maria De Leon, Celeste Montoya, Alice Young aka Alice Hood, Elizabeth Aguilera, and John McKinnerney were salespeople or contractors with Team Realty, according to the complaint.
The complaint accuses Morris and his crew of using a variety of ruses to obtain 13 federally insured loans for unqualified borrowers, for a total of $2.8 million.
None of the borrowers qualified for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration or Veterans Administration, prosecutors said.
Morris and cohorts are accused of lying about their clients’ income and veteran’s benefits and forging Social Security documents, including W-2s.
One borrower was not even a U.S. citizen, and had never served in the military, but Morris and crew claimed he was receiving veteran’s disability benefits, the complaint states. Even the driver’s license number the defendants provided to the bank belonged to someone else, prosecutors say.
The government wants an injunction, preservation of documents and an accounting. They want the defendants ordered to file a detailed report of their actions, and that Team Realty be ordered “not to conduct any real estate activities at all.”
Prosecutors also seek maximum civil penalties under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, up to $1 million for each original violation and $5 million for every subsequent violation.