A Virginia Beach resident has pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges in a massive mortgage fraud scheme. Wayne M.B. Lezama, 44, a former real estate agent, agreed to cooperate with authorities investigating the $3 million scheme.
Lezama entered his plea in the U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia. As a part of his plea agreement Lezama, originally from Buford, Georgia, will have to pay back at least $1 million lost by financial institutions in the scheme. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines in addition to having to make restitution.
The mortgage scheme took place during the real estate boom between August 2005 and January 2007, and included the submission of false financial information about down payments, monthly income and liquid assets.
Lezama took out mortgages on 11 houses in southeastern Virginia using an unidentified “straw buyer” and phony “gift letters”. Lezama used the proceeds of the mortgages for himself, and lived in one of the properties, a $790,000 home in Virginia Beach.
Financial institutions on the hook for the mortgages taken out by Lezama were never paid and many of the homes went into foreclosure. Lezama will be sentenced on February 23.