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Former Real Estate Agent Sentenced to Prison for Loan Fraud

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Aired 4/19/09

A former real estate agent who helped broker home loans to 200 people who could not afford them is headed to prison. The man and his brother ran a Century 21 real estate office in San Marcos. KPBS Reporter Amita Sharma has more.

Federal Judge Marilyn Huff sentenced Alejandro Lopez to three months in prison and four months in a residential re-entry center. Citing the growing number of mortgage fraud cases, Judge Huff told Lopez no one is helped by getting people into homes they can't afford or sustain.

Lopez, his brother Emilio and two others have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud. The group, known as the Lopez Team, acknowledged recruiting mostly Latino clients by visiting swapmeats and advertising in Spanish Language newspapers.

The team helped their clients get home loans by lying. The real estate agents inflated borrowers' incomes, paid for fake tax returns, transferred their own money into their clients' bank accounts and pretended to be the borrowers' employers when lenders called for references.

The four Lopez team members admitted taking more than one million dollars in loan commissions from their activities.

Amita Sharma, KPBS News.

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