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P R E S S   R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 13, 2011


Two Men Charged in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in Bridgeport has returned an indictment charging DOMINGOS DIAS, 41, of Trumbull, and HECTOR NATERA, 39, formerly of Bridgeport, with conspiracy, wire fraud, and bank fraud offenses stemming from their alleged involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme that has caused more than $3 million in losses to lenders. The indictment was returned on November 18, 2010, and was unsealed on May 11, 2011.

The indictment alleges that from approximately January 2006 to April 2008, DIAS, NATERA, and others conspired to obtain millions of dollars of fraudulent real estate loans from banks and real estate lenders for properties that were purchased in Bridgeport and New Haven. Working from offices located at 1944 Boston Avenue in Bridgeport, DIAS and NATERA held themselves out as real estate agents and mortgage brokers and recruited "straw buyers," found sellers, and orchestrated and directed the creation and flow of fictitious documentation and information that were needed to obtain the fraudulent loans from lenders. After a loan for a property had been fraudulently obtained and a closing had occurred, DIAS and NATERA kept some of the fraud proceeds and distributed proceeds to other members of the conspiracy.

It is alleged that losses to mortgage lenders from this scheme total in excess of $3 million.

The indictment charges DIAS and NATERA with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and one count of bank fraud. The indictment also charges DIAS with six counts and NATERA with four counts of wire fraud. Each of the charges carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of up to $1 million

DIAS was arrested on November 23, 2010. He had been released on bond until May 11 when U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons found that DIAS had violated the terms and conditions of his release and ordered the bond revoked and DIAS detained. The indictment was unsealed on that date.

NATERA is currently being sought by law enforcement. Citizens with information about this case, or any other suspected mortgage fraud activity, are encouraged to contact the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force at 203-333-3512, or by e-mail to ctmortgagefraud@ic.fbi.gov.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ann M. Nevins.

In July 2009, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the formation of the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud cases and related financial crimes occurring in Connecticut. In addition to investigating past mortgage fraud schemes, the task force is focusing on emerging crime trends that are associated with the growing tide of foreclosures, including foreclosure rescue schemes and short sale schemes.

The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney's Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General; and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.

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


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