A businessman accused of forming a fake mortgage company in Texas to collect payoffs pled guilty to mail fraud and money laundering -- crimes that could jail him for up to 40 years.
George Eric Cardona incorporated a "shell" corporation called First Cambridge Mortgage Corp. and moved it into a space previously occupied by Union Mortgage Co., a legitimate operation now doing business as Foremost Servicing Corp., according to a recent announcement by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Texas.
By pretending that First Cambridge was the legal successor of Union Mortgage, the former Irving, Texas, resident received telephone calls and faxes from title companies inquiring about payoff balances on mortgages held by Union Mortgage. Cardona would send loan payoff information to others, cause the release of lien documents to be sent and cause others to send loan repayment checks to him, which he admittedly deposited in the phony company's account for his own use and to promote the scheme, the office reported.
The government alleges that Cardona's scheme resulted in a loss of over $1 million and affected 50 or more victims.
For the past several years Cardona had resided in Hawaii, where he was arrested by Dallas Internal Revenue Service agents on July 21, 2004, prosecutors said.
On the morning of Jan. 18, he reportedly pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering. He faces a maximum statutory sentence of 40 years imprisonment, a $750,000 fine and restitution. He is in federal custody and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Sam A. Lindsay on April 18.