MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (CBSDC) — Montgomery County Police have arrested two men who they say are responsible for a loan scam which swindled nearly $50,000 out of 12 people in the Latino community.
Carlos Sanchez, 35, and Franco Villatoro, 31, were arrested following a 12-month investigation into their business practices.
In January 2011, police were contacted by a resident who believed he was a victim of a loan scam. He told authorities he believed there were other victims in his community and supplied detectives with the name of the loan company, Metropolitan Financial Services, responsible for the alleged scam.
During the course of the investigation, authorities discovered that the company was not licensed or registered to broker loans in the state of Maryland and that Sanchez and Villatoro were not licensed mortgage brokers.
The victims applied for a variety of low interest loans through the suspects, believing Sanchez worked in the banking industry.
Sanchez and Villatoro allegedly told the victims they had been approved for the loans, but would have to pay fees upfront in order to receive the money. The suspects provided the victims with fraudulent bank documents to make the scam appear real.
The victims gave the pair the requested fees, but never received the loan money they were promised.
A grand jury indited the pair on January 25.
Villatoro, who lives in Hyattsville, was arrested on February 17 in Prince George’s County.
Sanchez, who lives in D.C., was arrested in Miami on February 19 and is currently awaiting extradition back to Maryland.
Both have been charged with theft scheme $10,000 to under $100,000, conspiracy to commit theft over $10,000 to under $100,000, five counts of theft $1,000 to under $10,000, and four counts of mortgage fraud.
Police believe there may be additional victims of Villatoro and Sanchez’s scheme. People who believe they may have been victimized are encouraged to call the Montgomery County Police Financial Crimes Section at 240-773-6330.