Fresno, California - A federal jury in Fresno stayed late into the evening on Friday, and returned guilty verdicts on all counts in the trial of Evelyn Brigget Sanchez, 32, and Darling Arlette Montalvo, 33, both of Bakersfield, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
The case against the two sisters focused on their involvement in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that ran from October 2005 to May 2007.
Sanchez and Montalvo were both convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud. Sanchez was also convicted of 11 counts of mail fraud. Montalvo was also convicted of 10 counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering.
According to court documents, between October 2005 and May 2007, Sanchez and Montalvo conspired with co-defendants Eric Hernandez, Monica Hernandez, and Patricia King to defraud mortgage lenders by submitting false loan applications and fraudulent supporting documentation, causing the lenders to fund mortgage loans for the defendants’ benefit on the basis of false and misleading information. During this time, Eric Hernandez and Evelyn Sanchez were employed at mortgage brokerages in Bakersfield. The defendants submitted loan applications to lenders that included material misstatements concerning the borrowers’ income, assets, and employment, and false statements concerning the borrowers’ intent to reside in the properties as owner-occupiers, among other false statements. The defendants also fabricated false supporting documentation and submitted it to lenders in support of the loan applications. The total losses in the scheme were approximately $6 million.
Co-defendants Eric Hernandez, Monica Hernandez, and Patricia King previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme. Eric Hernandez was sentenced on Sept. 16, 2013, to 10 years and 10 months in prison. King was sentenced on April 23, 2012, to three years and one month in prison. Monica Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced on January 5, 2015.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk Sherriff and Henry Carbajal III are prosecuting the case.
Sanchez and Montalvo are to be sentenced on February 2, 2015, by United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. The maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum statutory penalty for one count of mail fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and for money laundering is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case was investigated and prosecuted in coordination with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.