Three suspected Houston charlatans have been arrested by federal authorities and taken into custody on charges related to mortgage fraud, credit repair and government loan fraud, the justice department said Friday.
The DOJ says Heather Ann Campos, David Lewis Best Jr. and Stephen Laverne Crabtree evaded law enforcement for “several months”. Some of their alleged co-conspirators, including Steven Tetsuya Morizono, Melinda Moreno Munoz, Elvina Buckley, were charged earlier this year.
If convicted, all three face up to 30 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $1 million, the DOJ said.
The DOJ said Campos and Best have been evading authorities since January after they were both indicted for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to defraud mortgage companies, banks, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Trade Commission.
Initially, Campos and Best agreed to surrender, but later opted to go into hiding instead. Crabtree, on the other hand, was released on bail earlier in January and became a fugitive, according to the DOJ.
The DOJ alleges that Campos, a mortgage broker, and Best set up a slew of credit repair companies called KMD Credit, KMD Capital and Jeff Funding and “cleaned up” their clients’ credit histories by filing false reports. of identity theft with the FTC. Buckley was working as a real estate agent in this alleged scheme and Munoz was operating as a notary. Family and friends have also been invited to join, the government says.
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The DOJ alleges that the fraudsters inflated customer creditworthiness and obtained credit cards, disaster loans and mortgages for themselves and their customers. According to the DOJ, Campos and Best used false statements and documents to do so.
Additionally, the scammers used the names of their clients to obtain rental properties and built a real estate portfolio worth “millions of dollars”.
In addition, they would have obtained loans from the Economic Disaster Loan Program and the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program. They were created in the names of clients, friends and family members through forged or altered documents, the DOJ said.
The DOJ did not say how long the alleged ruse lasted.
Prior to their arrest, Campos, Best, and Crabtree reportedly sent numerous letters from sovereign citizens to federal agencies and the federal court in Houston declaring themselves immune from prosecution and refusing to recognize the authority of the federal courts.
The Federal Housing Finance AgencyOffice of the Inspector General, the Postal Inspection Service and the Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentThe Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation.