A judge on Tuesday sentenced a Bay Area real estate agent to 21 months in federal prison for conspiring with others to commit bank fraud in the short sale of a Gustine man’s Patterson home four years ago.
Minerva Sanchez, 48, of Fremont in November pleaded guilty to the conspiracy, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento. As part of her plea deal, Sanchez admitted that her criminal conduct caused the banks to lose more than $316,000.
U.S. District Judge Anthony Ishii also ordered Sanchez to pay $421,000 in restitution to the financial institutions victimized.
On June 10, 2013, Agustin Simon pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with the short-sale scheme. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23.
In March 2010, Sanchez represented Simon in the sale of his Patterson home. The real estate agent recommended that he undertake a short sale of his home using her son as a straw buyer, federal prosecutors have said.
After the sale, the plan was for the seller to regain ownership of the home, but with a smaller outstanding loan balance.
Simon, acting on Sanchez’s advice, submitted fraudulent short-sale applications to Tri Counties Bank and Freddie Mac that caused them to approve the funds for the short sale of his home, according to the prosecutors.
With Sanchez’s knowledge, Simon gave Sanchez’s son $355,000 to buy the home. The prosecutors said Sanchez, her son and Simon falsely claimed that the transaction was “arm’s length” and hid the agreement that Simon would regain ownership of the home.
They also made false statements about Simon’s assets and ownership of other real estate, the prosecutors said. Sanchez wrote a “hardship letter” for Simon to include with the short-sale application, falsely claiming Simon couldn’t make his monthly mortgage payments.