Santa Margarita man imprisoned for mortgage fraud
December 26, 2012
A Santa Margarita man and two Santa Maria men who participated in a complex mortgage fraud scheme were sentenced last week to federal prison terms and ordered to pay $2.4 million in restitution to various lenders that suffered losses as a result of having funded loans procured through fraud.
United States District Judge John F. Walter sentenced Brian Armet, 36, of Santa Margarita to one year and one day in prison. Armet pleaded guilty in 2011 to conspiring to defraud lenders by preparing loans packages that contained false information about prospective borrowers’ employment and assets.
Walters sentenced Rigoberto Hernandez, 37, to eight months in prison and Julio Tamayo, 42, to six months in prison. After being indicted one year ago, Hernandez and Tamayo pleaded guilty earlier this year to mortgage fraud charges.
The judge ordered the defendants to pay $2,412,294 in restitution to four lending victims.
The fraudulent mortgage fraud scheme operated through Custom House Home Loans (CHHL), a Santa Maria real estate mortgage company that Armet started in early 2006. Armet was a licensed mortgage broker and the main loan officer at CHHL, where he prepared and submitted loan application packages. Hernandez and Tamayo worked at CHHL and helped prepare loans applications by obtaining information from clients.
In instances where the information was insufficient to ensure that a client would qualify for a loan, Armet, Tamayo, and Hernandez arranged with employers in the Santa Maria area to verify that they employed the applicant. Armet included the false and fraudulent employment information in loan applications that were submitted to lenders, including Homecoming Financial, Freddie Mac, Bank of America, and Carrington Mortgage Company. Lenders relied on these fraudulent loan applications that contained false information to fund loans.
As a result of this fraud, approximately 19 loans went into default, causing lenders to suffer approximately $2.4 million in losses.
The case against Armet, Tamayo, and Hernandez is the result of an investigation by the Santa Maria Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.