Monique Mitchell and Sheldon Martin, Plead Guilty in Broward Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, and J. Thomas Cardwell, Commissioner, State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, announced that defendants Monique Mitchell, 29, of Pembroke Pines, and Sheldon Martin, 34, of Plantation, pled guilty this morning in West Palm Beach federal court to one count of making false statements on a HUD-1 Real Estate Settlement Form in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme. Sentencing has been scheduled for July 21, 2010 before U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks.

According to records filed with the court and statements made during the plea hearing, defendant Monique Mitchell was employed by Attorneys Title Center, in Pembroke Pines. Defendant Sheldon Martin was a self-employed licensed mortgage broker in Plantation. At the plea, Mitchell and Martin admitted that they knowingly prepared a false HUD-1 Settlement Statement Form in connection with the January 2008 sale of a $1,250,000 home in Fort Lauderdale. The HUD-1 Form included false information to Regions Bank, the lender, about the down payment, the cash on hand at closing, and the amount repaid to the previous lender. In addition, the defendants concealed from Regions Bank money paid to The Pines Law Center at the closing.

At sentencing, the defendants face a maximum statutory sentence of up to five years in prison. Co-defendant, attorney Michael Samuda, is scheduled for trial in June 2010.

“This is a wake-up call to those in the mortgage industry who think they can get away with mortgage fraud,” said Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies of the FBI’s Miami Division. “Submitting false information on loan documents is a crime and the FBI and its partners will investigate and prosecute those that break the law.”

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, FBI, and State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Kay.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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