Auburn woman, Newcastle couple indicted for mortgage fraud

-A +A
Five Sacramento-area residents, including one Auburn woman and two from Newcastle were indicted for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and other related charges in a mortgage fraud scheme, according to a press release issued by McGregor Scott, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California. Auburn resident Kathleen Delapp, 44, and Newcastle’s Robert Martinson, 45 and his wife, Sheryl Hayden, 41, were among those accused of participating in the scheme. Sacramento’s Melissa Villegas, 34 and her husband Rick Villegas, 31, were also charged. Prosecutor Russell Carlberg, assistant U.S. attorney, said the defendants are accused of scheming to defraud mortgage lenders by submitting fraudulent loan applications in the names of straw buyers and other investors. Hayden, a licensed real estate salesperson, operated a branch of MAC Real Estate Services with Martinson in North Highlands. The couple owned and controlled Sheryl’s LLC, which they operated from the same office as their MAC business. Starting in 2003, the couple purchased several homes in the Sacramento area as investment properties. Two years later, the couple wanted to “unload” the properties as the housing market began to slow. They recruited straw buyers and others to buy them. The indictment states that as loan processors, the Villegas couple helped Martinson create fraudulent loan applications to close deals. The couple also helped Martinson and Hayden pay “substantial kickbacks to at least one straw buyer,” the release stated. Delapp, a loan processor for MAC Real Estate Services, was also an account executive for Aegis Mortgage. The release states that Delapp used her job at MAC to forge signatures and “knowingly forward at least one false loan application” to process transactions. She placed many of the loans with Aegis Mortgage and received loan broker commissions or other compensation as a result. Also, after the lenders funded loans, Martinson and Hayden received “substantial loan proceeds from the sales of homes,” the release stated. Hayden was arrested June 27 on the charges. Rick Villegas surrendered to U.S. Marshals on Friday, also. Martinson and Melissa Villegas were arrested earlier on a criminal complaint in the case and were released on bond. It was unclear as of press time whether Delapp had been arrested. If found guilty of the charges, defendants could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Neither Delapp or the Martinsons could not be contacted as of press time. Representatives from MAC Real Estate said they were in the process of trying to contact those involved but had yet to receive a response. -Staff report