FEDERAL COURT

Six plead guilty in condo straw-buyer scheme

 

mbrannigan@MiamiHerald.com

Five Miami residents and an Orange Park man pleaded guilty this week in federal court in the Southern District of Florida to participating in a fraudulent scheme involving the sale of condo units to straw buyers.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Leidy Masvidal, 42, of Miami, who co-owned EZY Mortgage Inc., pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud. Alfredo Jesus Chacon, 48, of Orange Park; and Francisco Martos, 63, a former loan officer at State Lending, a mortgage company; and Dorian Wong Magarino, 49, both of Miami, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.

Tania Masvidal, 49, co-owner of EZY Mortgage; and Douglas Ponce, 40, both of Miami, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud.

The Justice Department said straw buyers were paid to submit false loan applications to lending institutions to buy condos. Many straw buyers defaulted on the loans after their co-conspirators stopped making mortgage payments on their behalf, “causing millions of dollars in losses to lenders,’’ prosecutors said.

Seven other people who were indicted March 31 on charges of participating in the scheme have pleaded innocent and scheduled for trial on Sept. 8.

They are: Luis Mendez; Stavroula Mendez; Luis Michael Mendez; Lazaro Mendez; Marie Mendez; Wilkie Perez and Enrique Angulo, the Justice Department said.

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