Real Estate Broker Sentenced for Scam Targeting Hispanic Community
|Sleuthing from attorneys Gustavo Arango (left) and Ken Schmitt led to a trio of real estate brokers' indictments. One of those brokers has now been sentenced to prison.|
Juan, a 31-year-old St. Louis man, was sentenced to one year plus one day in prison and ordered to pay $127,000 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He pleaded guilty in federal court to preparing phony loan documents and other financial documents back in January, but wasn't sentenced 'til last week.
The RFT's Chad Garrison wrote about the scam and the fearless lawyers who first uncovered it in a June 2006 feature story. It wasn't until four years later -- in June 2010 -- that indictments were issued against Juan and his co-conspirators, A.J. Adewunmi and Denisse Olmos.
The brokers targeted buyers who spoke little English and were forced to rely on Juan and Olmos for advice and assistance.
It took sleuthing from attorneys Gustavo Arango and Ken Schmitt -- who were approached by a local Hispanic woman who was upset that she'd paid far more for her home than she'd been told -- to unravel the scam and bring the fraud to light.