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Dec. 20, 2013

Former Allentown Realtors Charged In Fraud Scheme

Former Allentown-based real estate agents, Jose Antigua, 36, and Melquisidec Caraballo, 42, were charged today by Information with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud affecting financial institutions, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.

According to the Information, from at least October 2006 until at least August 11, 2008, Antigua and Caraballo conspired with each other and two former employees of Madison Funding, a loan origination company, to defraud lenders into loaning money to their real estate clients who were not creditworthy. The Information alleges that Antigua and Caraballo helped numerous clients, who were unemployed or under-employed, buy real estate by referring them to Madison Funding employees Claribel Gonzalez and Florentia Peralta, knowing that Gonzalez and Peralta would submit fraudulent loan applications to lenders such as Mortgage IT, Countrywide, and Bank of America, on behalf of those clients.

In total, Antigua and Caraballo helped their clients obtain more than $1.7 million in fraudulent loans, many of which have since gone into default, costing the lenders, secondary investors, and insurers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, three years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

Gonzalez and Peralta were charged with multiple mortgage fraud-based crimes in a separate indictment and have pleaded guilty to those charges. Six other former Madison Funding employees also have pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud-based charges. Gonzalez and Peralta are scheduled to be sentenced on February 11, 2014.

The case was investigated by the Offices of the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the FDIC, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark B. Dubnoff.

An Indictment, Information or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
PATTY HARTMAN, Media Contact, 215-861-8525

Source: United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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