In a mortgage fraud scheme with echoes of Bakersfield's infamous Crisp & Cole Real Estate case, federal defendant Antonio Perez-Marcial was sentenced Monday to three years and 10 months in prison.
The 41-year-old Bakersfield resident was sentenced for conspiracy to commit bank, mail and wire fraud. In addition to the prison term, he was ordered to pay restitution of more than $3.45 million He is among nine defendants in the case, two of whom have pleaded guilty.
Federal prosecutors say between 2007 and 2010, Perez-Marcial and other co-conspirators working at or with Paragon Realty, Jara Brothers Investments Inc. and developer Pershing Partners LLC submitted false loan applications and other bogus documentation on behalf of "straw buyers."
The case was similar to the 15-defendant Crisp & Cole scheme, in that it involved a network of family members and their associates to manipulate property sales for personal gain.
But prosecutors have said that, unlike the better known Crisp & Cole case, the Jara fraud amounted to a kind of "builder bail-out scheme" in which the straw buyers were brought in to buy duplexes and other residential properties whose prices were in decline.
The other defendant in the case who pleaded guilty, home buyer Ricardo Fabian Salinas, is scheduled to be sentenced July 28. A trial for the rest of the defendants is scheduled to begin Feb. 10.