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Flipping Straw Buyer Sentenced

Lenders Defrauded of more than $1.6 Million

Miami, Fla. - (Feb. 20, 2009) R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that defendant Samuel Morejon was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke to 27 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in a mortgage fraud scheme. Judge Cooke further ordered a hearing to determine the restitution to be paid by Morejon; the hearing is scheduled for March 18, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.

Morejon pled guilty in December 2008 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1349, and two counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343. Morejon was arrested in November 2008 for participating in the fraudulent sale of residential property located in Coral Gables and Miami, Florida.

According to documents filed with court, the Coral Gables property was flipped three times within about two years, more than doubling the price of the property from $550,000 to $1,200,000. Morejon served as the straw buyer in the second sale of this property and submitted false loan applications to obtain $850,000 in financing to purchase the property. Once the final sale closed, the individual posing as the buyer in the third sale, co-defendant Jose Martinez, failed to make a single payment on the mortgage, and the property ultimately went into foreclosure resulting in a significant loss to the lender.

According to court records, on the same date Morejon posed as a buyer for the Coral Gables property, he served as a straw buyer in the purchase of another residential property in Miami, Florida. Based on fraudulent misrepresentations in the loan application, Morejon obtained $835,000 of financing to purchase this property. He never made a single payment on the mortgage, and the property went into foreclosure resulting in a significant loss to the lender.

This case was investigated by agencies participating in the Federal-State Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and the Miami-Dade County Police Department. Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of all the members of the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, with particular thanks to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for leading this investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter A. Forand.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

SOURCE: United State Department of Justice -- Southern District of Florida

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