Defendants Lucia Chavez, 37, and her husband Joseph Chavez, 41, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud, in relation to their business dealings with Jara Brothers Investments (JBI) in Bakersfield.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Lucia Chavez agreed to a personal forfeiture money judgment of $1,624,450 and Joseph Chavez agreed to a personal forfeiture money judgment of $3,092,000 as part of their plea bargain. Both defendants with be sentenced in mid-July 2015.
JBI was owned by Lucia Chavez‘ brothers Eliseo Jara and Sergio Jara, who were co-defendants in this case. The conspirators committed mortgage fraud against lenders by assisting straw buyers to purchase properties developed by Pershing Partners LLC, which was owned by Lucia Chavez, and Jara Brothers Investments. The lenders neither knew that the conspirators funded the straw buyers‘ down-payments themselves and intentionally submitted false information to the lenders about the financial assets, employment status and bank accounts.
The remaining seven co-defendants have all previously pleaded guilty in this case. Co-defendant Antonio Perez-Marcial was sentenced on May 12, 2014 to 3 years and 10 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Co-defendants Eliseo Jara, Sergio Jara, Arlene Mojardin, and Candace Gonzales each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud, and are scheduled to be sentenced on the following dates: May 18, 2015 (Arlene Mojardin), June 8, 2015 (Candace Gonzales), and June 22, 2015 (Eliseo Jara and Sergio Jara). Co-defendant Melissa Jara pleaded guilty to wire fraud and is to be sentenced on June 22, 2015. Co-defendant Ricardo Salinas previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud, and his sentencing is set for June 29, 2015.
The Jara Brothers Investments case was jointly investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff, Henry Z. Carbajal III, and Megan A.S. Richards were the prosecutors.
Read the original article in KERO 23ABC News.