The indictment was unsealed Wednesday and returned by a federal grand jury in Fresno on Dec. 19, 2013. Minerva Sanchez, 47, was arraigned Wednesday in San Jose Federal District Court, where she pleaded not guilty to the charges. She is scheduled to appear in Fresno before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe on Feb. 10, 2014.
According to court documents, in March 2010, Sanchez represented Agustin Simon, 52 of Gustine, as his licensed real estate agent to sell his Patterson home.
Sanchez recommended Simon to undertake a short sale of his home, using her son as a straw buyer. Simon reportedly submitted short-sale applications to Tri Counties Bank and Freddie Mac, which prompted the companies to approve the charge-off of funds for the short-sale of his home.
Sanchez and Simon falsely claimed that the transaction was at “arm’s length,” and made false statements about Simon’s assets and ownership of other real estate. Sanchez wrote a “hardship letter” for Simon to include with the short-sale application that misrepresented his inability to make his monthly mortgage payments. They made other false statements in order to conceal their agreement— Simon would provide Sanchez’s son with the money for the short sale but ultimately would regain ownership of his home following the short sale.
With Simon’s knowledge, Sanchez provided her son with $355,000, the purchase price of the home. In addition to her commission as the listing agent, Sanchez received 75 percent of the commission paid to her son’s real estate agent. As a result of her conduct, Tri Counties Bank suffered a loss of $247,000 and Freddie Mac lost $107,348. On June 10, 2013, Simon pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with the scheme.
If convicted, Sanchez faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Simon will be sentenced on Oct. 6, 2013 before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill.
Nick Rappley can be reached at 209-568-9975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.