MIAMI — After previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, Ana Amador and Sunilda Casilla have been sentenced in federal court to jail and ordered to pay compensation. Amador was sentenced to 72 months in prison, three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution. Casilla was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years on probation and was also ordered to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution.
According to the facts admitted during the plea change, Amador and Casilla made fraudulent loan applications in bogus real estate transactions. Both would look for vacant properties with a high market value. They used the personal identifying information of former clients to apply for mortgages from private mortgage lenders. The lenders would fund the loans for the purported purchase of the properties, and Amador and Casilla would pocket the loan proceeds. There has never been a real sale or purchase of property.
Amador and Casilla were familiar with the mortgage industry and knew the details of the loan process, including the paperwork required to obtain a loan. Amador worked as president of a securities company for several years. Casilla was a former attorney who worked with Amador on property closings. They knew that “hard money lenders” lent money for the purchase of properties as long as the property was of sufficient value to serve as collateral for the loan. These lenders lent money to high-risk customers who were unable to obtain a conventional mortgage for various reasons, including low credit risk, no verifiable income, or insufficient work history. Amador and Casilla also knew that if they could convince mortgage lenders to lend money for the alleged purchase of a property, they could get the loan proceeds before anyone knew a property was not. bought.
Amador and Casilla located vacant high-end residences that they supposedly “purchased” using someone else’s name, credit, and identity to secure a mortgage from a hard money lender. Once the “sale” was completed, the mortgage proceeds would be transferred from the hard money lender to a shell title company controlled by Amador and Casilla. The owner of the building did not know that the real estate transaction had taken place. The buyer of the property did not know he had purchased it. Instead, they gave the appearance that a sale had been made, thus instructing the mortgage company to transfer the proceeds of the mortgage to their title companies, after which they would withdraw the money. By using this scheme, they were responsible for a predicted loss of over $3.3 million and an actual loss to the victims of over $1.6 million. They were each ordered to pay more than $1.6 in restitution.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Edwin S. Bonano, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General; Brian Swain, Special Agent in Charge, US Secret Service; and the US Treasury Department, Office of Inspector General, announced the sentences.
Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General; US Secret Service; and the US Treasury Department, Office of Inspector General, investigated the matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Bardfeld prosecuted the case. Assistant United States Attorney Gabrielle Charest-Turken handles asset forfeiture.
Related court documents and information may be viewed on the District Court for the Southern District of Florida website at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov , under file number 21-cr-60312.