Crime

How dealing cocaine in Colombia led to mortgage fraud in Aventura

For eight years, Jose Orlando Sanchez Cristancho nimbly worked two names, hopped between homes in Miami and Colombia, and had at least three occupations — cocaine trafficker, money launderer, mortgage fraudster.

For the next eight years, Cristancho, also known as Orlando Sanchez, will be stationary in location and task — federal prison and inmate — after his sentencing on mortgage fraud and money-laundering charges. He has also been ordered to pay $722,000 in restitution.

Two of the cohorts named in the 57-year-old Sanchez’s admission, Andrea Marroquin and Luis Fernando Reyes, have been arrested in Colombia and are in the extradition process. The other partner Sanchez named in the admission, Sergio Perdomo, is still on the lam.

According to court documents, Sanchez acquired Colombian land and U.S. cash from moving cocaine from 2003 through 2011. But Sanchez’s proceeds, even the U.S. cash, were in Colombia while Sanchez spent most of that time in the United States.

Sanchez “knew that his financial assets would be safer and more valuable in this country,” his admission of facts says. “He, therefore, made arrangements to bring drug-derived assets to the United States to purchase real property in South Florida.”

So, Sanchez set up corporations in Florida and enlisted the help of a fellow Colombian citizen living in South Florida with a U.S. bank account.

“Sanchez arranged deliveries of cash to (his friend) in Colombia, which money (the friend) transferred into his business account in the United States,” the admission says. “He then issued checks payable to Sanchez’s corporations, to some of his relatives, to co-conspirators and to title agents, at Sanchez’s discretion. Sanchez used these funds in making real estate purchases.”

In this manner, Sanchez laundered and transferred $1.3 million in drug money into the United States. It also provided some of the real estate necessary for the little mortgage fraud club formed by Sanchez, Perdomo and Marroquin, according to Sanchez’s admission.

“The schemes used included recruiting straw buyers to purchase property Sanchez owned, at inflated prices,” the court documents say. “The straw buyer would subsequently default on the loan he hand obtained at Sanchez’s direction, but Sanchez was able to keep the money the straw buyer had paid him from the loan proceeds.”

They worked this scam using unit No. 403 at the Hamptons South Condominium, 20201 E. Country Club Dr. in Aventura.

Sanchez bought it for $546,000, court documents say. Just 19 months after that purchase, which Miami-Dade property records say happened in 2004, Sanchez and Maria Pimienta sold the condo to Jacqueline Daccach for $1.28 million. Court documents say the loan application said Daccach’s annual income exceeded $500,000 and she made a $330,000 down payment and she’d live in the apartment.

In reality, Daccach made less than $50,000, put no money down and Perdomo was going to live in the condo.

At closing, Sanchez made more than $400,000. Daccach defaulted on the mortgage. It sold in a short sale for $665,000 in 2009. The bank lost $404,000.

Showing diversity in their mortgage fraud, Sanchez admitted he and Marroquin worked a different con for unit 511 at Turnberry Village, 19900 E. Country Club Dr., in February 2007.

“Sanchez knew that he would not be given a loan based on a truthful application because he had no legitimate income or any legitimately-obtained assets,” court documents say. “Consequently, he submitted a loan application and then a HUD-1 closing form falsely stating that he worked as marketing director for Quin Real Estate, a company owned by Andrea Marroquin, at a salary of more than $200,000 a year; that he was putting $26,615 in cash of his own money into the purchase, and that he had $250,000 in an account at Bank of America.”

There was no such account or job and Marroquin paid the $26,615. Sanchez got a loan of $455,000. He stopped paying on the loan a year and a half later. The bank lost $106,000.

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