Loan Officer Sentenced to Prison for Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

PHOENIX, AZ – May 12, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — April J. Lucero, 46, of Phoenix, Ariz. was sentenced on May 10, 2010 to two years in prison for her conviction in August 2009 for her involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme in Phoenix, Ariz. Lucero pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Mail, Wire and Bank Fraud, a felony, related to her participation in a two year conspiracy involving the purchase of 37 properties using fraudulent loan documents. Seven other co-conspirators were also charged and have pleaded guilty for their involvement in the conspiracy.

“Lucero worked the system by conspiring with home loan straw buyers who had no intention of ever taking up residence,” said Dennis K. Burke. “This type of fraud scheme undermined the Valley housing market leading up to its collapse.”

The case against Lucero was based on an investigation by the FBI, which indicated that from 2005 through March 2007 she conspired to commit mortgage fraud in Phoenix. Lucero fraudulently submitted mortgage loan applications, on behalf of straw buyers, under false pretenses, obtaining and disbursing the proceeds of fraudulently obtained loans, including directing portions of the proceeds in the amount of $735,000 to a bank account in Lucero’s control. Lucero used her skill as a loan officer to prepare the mortgage loan applications for a borrower misrepresenting salary, assets and liabilities. Lucero used the proceeds from the fraud for personal expenses. Lucero received a lesser sentence due to her early guilty plea and cooperation. The entire conspiracy resulted in a loss to lending institutions of approximately $9.5 million.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the FBI. The prosecution is being handled by Kevin M. Rapp and Charles W. Galbraith Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

CASE NUMBER: CR-08-0256-PHX-SMM
RELEASE NUMBER: 2010-093(Lucero)

Contact:
United States Attorney’s Office
District of Arizona
Contact: (602) 514-7500

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