Real Estate agent pleads guilty to bank fraud in mortgage scheme

Maria Del Carmen Montes of Kissimmee, Florida, secured mortgages for unqualified candidates

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A Florida real estate agent has pleaded guilty to three counts of bank fraud, each carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. 

Maria Del Carmen Montes, 46, of Kissimmee, Florida, participated in a mortgage fraud scheme targeting financial institutions, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

According to the plea agreement, Montes, co-conspirator Carlos Ferrer, and others carried out the scheme by assisting clients in purchasing homes. 

After signing real estate contracts, Montes referred her buyers to a mortgage company’s loan officer. 

To secure mortgages for unqualified clients, Montes transferred clients’ personal and financial information to Ferrer. Ferrer then created fictitious pay stubs and W-2s, falsely indicating earnings and employment history. 

Montes knowingly submitted the fraudulent documents to financial institutions, influencing underwriting decisions.

Real estate agents run afoul of the law from time to time.

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Utah real estate agent Kouri Richins, 33, was charged with murdering her husband, Eric, by fentanyl poisoning at their home outside of Park City in May. She was also charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Early last March, the married couple celebrated the closing of a house sale by Richins, according to court documents. She allegedly made her husband a cocktail. Hours later, she was awoken by one of her kids, she told investigators, and returned to bed to find her husband cold to the touch and called 911.

Eric was pronounced dead at the scene after lifesaving measures failed, according to court documents.

At one point, Richins allegedly texted the acquaintance to ask for fentanyl. The person sold her 15 to 30 pills for $900, according to court documents.

In July, Sheldon Haag, 34, of Glastonbury, Connecticut  pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after allegedly defrauding his clients over several years by engaging in fraudulent transactions with straw buyers, the U.S. Department of Justice in Massachusetts said in a press release.

The scheme involved acquiring properties owned by the clients of the brokerage where Haag worked and using straw buyers including a shell company set up by a co-conspirator.