Former resident sentenced to 30 months for mortgage fraud

A former Trumbull resident was sentenced to 30 months in jail Wednesday, for his part in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced that former Trumbull resident Domingos Dias, 44, currently residing in Easton, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 30 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his involvement the scheme, that caused more than $3 million in losses to lenders.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Dias participated in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain real estate loans from banks and mortgage lenders through the use of straw buyers. As part of the scheme, Dias recruited the straw buyers and then created false verifications of employment, false verifications of rent and other false documentation that was used to qualify the straw buyers for the fraudulent mortgages. Once the mortgage loans were closed, Dias distributed some of the proceeds of the scheme to the straw buyers, and kept some of the money for himself.

Dias sometimes used his wholly-owned limited liability company, Peoples Choice General Contractors, to falsely verify the employment of straw buyers, and also to receive mortgage funds for ”services rendered” when, in fact, no general contracting or other services had been provided to the seller or the buyer of the properties, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

In 2006 and 2007, Dias conspired to defraud lenders in relation to the purchase of three residential real estate properties in Bridgeport and one in Stratford. Dias also admitted that the conspiracy involved the fraudulent purchase of at least 10 other properties in Connecticut and Indiana, causing a total of $3.2 million in losses to lenders.

Judge Underhill ordered Dias to pay restitution of $3,208,450 to the victim mortgage lenders.

On November 18, 2010, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Dias and his alleged co-conspirator, Hector Natera, formerly of Bridgeport, with conspiracy, wire fraud and bank fraud offenses. On February 9, 2012, Dias pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and seven counts of wire fraud.

Natera is currently being sought by law enforcement. Citizens with information that may be helpful to the investigation of this matter are urged to call the FBI at 203-333-3512.

As to Natera, U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann M. Nevins.