TAMPA — A former Hillsborough County mortgage broker pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to a plea agreement, Luis Javier Uribe, 28, of Apollo Beach worked with an unidentified title agent to falsify applicants' credit histories and inflate the values of properties to secure loans. In at least one case, prosecutors said, Uribe applied for a loan without the potential home buyer's permission and forged every signature on closing documents for the sale.
Investigators estimated that the scheme caused lenders to fund more than 32 fraudulent loans totaling more than $6-million. Prosecutors said Uribe closed loans with Diamond Title, Easy Title and Southern Bay Title.
Prosecutors also said Uribe directed money from the illegally obtained loans into a bank account, which he controlled, in the name of an unlicensed contracting service called Bay General Contracting Services LLC.
Uribe pleaded guilty to sending notices to commence work to clerks in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Citrus counties to inflate the value on certain properties. Prosecutors said Bay General had no employees and the company never performed any work related to the notices.
Uribe faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and up to a $1-million fine on the charge of wire fraud affecting a financial institution. He faces a minimum mandatory sentence of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge. He remains in custody until a sentencing date is set.