A Sacramento-area loan broker and real estate agent has been convicted of mortgage fraud.
Following a five-day trial, a federal jury in Sacramento on Wednesday found 35-year-old Tony Salcedo of Fair Oaks guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and four counts of mail fraud for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.
According to court documents and evidence presented during the trial, Salcedo began working in the real estate industry in 2000. He was licensed as a real estate agent in 2004 and as a mortgage broker in 2006, and worked for two different mortgage lenders for five years.
When selling his personal properties in 2005 and 2006, Salcedo worked with licensed mortgage broker Sean McClendon, 49, of Fair Oaks, and Anthony Williams, 47, previously of Memphis, Tenn., to find buyers. As an incentive to complete the sales transactions, Salcedo paid kickbacks to the buyers and to McClendon outside of escrow, authorities said. The payments were never disclosed to the lenders as part of the purchase and sale agreements, and the buyers’ income and assets were falsified to qualify for the loans.
Substantial sums were exchanged outside of escrow as part of the scheme, equaling as much as 16 percent of the total purchase price of the property in one instance, authorities said.
Prosecutors noted that the exchange of money outside of escrow reduces the fair market value of the property to below what is reflected in the contract price and affects the appraised value of a home. At least two of the buyers declared bankruptcy and lost not only their investment properties, purchased via the scheme, but also their own homes. In all, approximately $2.6 million in fraudulently obtained loans were involved in the scheme, while Salcedo and his family got out from under their $1.6 million in mortgage debt when Salcedo knew the real estate market was slowing down, authorities said.
Salcedo is to be sentenced Sept. 10 by Chief U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.
Co-defendant McClendon pleaded guilty in October 2013 and is awaiting sentencing. Co-defendant Williams also pleaded guilty and is serving a sentence of two years and nine months in prison.
The case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the FBI.