16 South Floridians indicted for condo unit

mortgage fraud scheme

Article Courtesy of The South Florida Business Journal

By Lina Licoff 

Published February 15, 2017


Sixteen South Floridians and one St. Petersburg resident were charged for their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme involving two condominium projects on the west coast of Florida, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida announced Thursday.

The bulk of the seventeen defendants – 88 percent – were Miami-Dade County residents. One defendant was a Broward County resident and one was from outside of South Florida.

The seventeen defendants charged are:

  • Miguel Soto, Jr., of Miami

  • Hector Raul Santana, of Miami Lakes

  • Miguel Faraldo, Miami

  • Barbara E. Zas, of Miami

  • Maria Rosa Diaz, of Miami Springs

  • Heberto Elias Gamboa, of Miami

  • Michael Jose Gonzalez, of Miami

  • Jenny Nillo, of Miami

  • Jaime Jesus Sola Avila, of Miami

  • Jorge Angel Sola, of Miami

  • Emily Marie Echavarria, of Miami

  • Eduardo Cruz Toledo, of Miami

  • Yanet Huet, of Miami

  • Carlos Mesa, Jr., of St. Petersburg

  • Yipsy Rabelo Clavelo, of Pompano Beach

  • Jose Salazar, of Miami

  • Cynthia Velasquez, of Miami

The alleged scheme ran from 2007 through 2008. During that window, the defendants conspired to carry out a complex mortgage fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The alleged scheme centered on the Largo condominium project Portofino at Largo and the Tampa project Bayshore Landing.

The defendants allegedly conspired to obtain mortgage loan for unqualified buyers of units at Portofino and Bayshore Landing. The defendant allegedly submitted fraudulent loan application to lenders which contained false statements about the borrowers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The defendants allegedly had different roles in the scheme. Miguel Soto, JR. was the manager of Indian Palm Holdings LLC and 5221 Bayshore LLC, which allegedly sold the units to the unqualified buyers. Hector Raul Santana was the director of sales for Indian Palms, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Miguel Faraldo, Jenny Nillo, Jorge Angel Sola, and Heberto Elias Gamboa operated marketing companies which allegedly laundered the proceeds of the scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Maria Rosa Diaz was the president of Miami-based mortgage broker Crisvan Investment Group, which allegedly prepared and submitted the fraudulent loan applications, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Soto, Santana, Faraldo, Barbara E. Zas, Diaz, Jaime Sola, Emily Echavarria, Eduardo Cruz Toledo and other co-conspirators allegedly recruited the unqualified buyers, who included Michael Gonzalez, Yanet Huet, Carlos Mesa, Jr., Yipsy Rabelo Clavelo, Jose Salazar, Jorge Sola and Cynthia Velasquez, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Mortgage fraud schemes are common in South Florida. Past schemes include an ex-newspaper publisher and other charged in a $10 million mortgage fraud scheme and a Miami real estate developer who pleaded guilty in a $64 million mortgage fraud scheme.