Real Estate

Monday, May 05 2014 02:43 PM

Real estate agent sentenced to two years in prison

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    FBI agents escort Michael Angelo Munoz from U.S. Bankruptcy Court in downtown Bakersfield after his arraignment in January 2011.

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BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer jcox@bakersfield.com

Former Crisp & Cole Real Estate agent Michael Angelo Munoz was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for his role in the infamous mortgage fraud case.

Munoz pleaded guilty in November to two counts of mail fraud and agreed to forfeit $1.3 million as a "reasonable reflection" of his financial gains under the criminal scheme, which federal prosecutors say took place between 2004 and 2007.

He was indicted Jan. 13, 2011, on one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud, five counts of mail fraud, one count of bank fraud and aiding and abetting, and one count of conspiracy to launder money.

Prosecutors accused Munoz of being one of several "straw buyers" in whose names Crisp & Cole purchased homes using falsified loan applications. Many such properties later went into foreclosure, costing lenders some $30 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Munoz was the seventh Crisp & Cole defendant to be sentenced in the case. Another eight defendants await sentencing. The last of them, former operations manager Julie Dianne Farmer, is scheduled to learn her fate July 14.

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