Ramona real estate agent Teresa Rose has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to launder money in an elaborate mortgage fraud that cost lenders at least $5 million.
Rose, loan broker Mary Armstrong and Armstrong’s assistant William Fountain were indicted for recruiting so-called investors via newspaper and online solicitations to purchase Ramona and other local properties. The investors turned out to be no more than straw buyers who sold the use of their credit for $10,000.
Loan applications were falsified in order to qualify for the maximum loan amounts (mortgage fraud, loan fraud). Prosecutors allege that the defendants made the majority of their illegal gains by convincing the property sellers to inflate the value of their homes, purportedly justified because they were going to be improved by construction that never occurred. In addition, the defendants earned commissions and other escrow-related fees. Because Teresa Rose was representing both the sellers and buyers, she was able to collect the full commission (dual agency) on all of her sales.
Teresa Rose’s real estate license shows no disciplinary action the California Department of Real Estate.
Read the original article in the Ramona Patch.