The U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday that two Florida residents had been sentenced in a mortgage fraud and tax evasion case. The couple, Rudolf Straat and Maria Gudelis, pleaded guilty in December and January to charges of conspiracy and tax evasion. They were accused of mortgage fraud for presenting false information in order to obtain mortgage loans to buy homes in Florida and Nevada. The purchases totaled more than $10 million. The couples' activities took place between 2004 and 20012.
The couple was accused of making several misrepresentations in order to secure mortgages. First, they were accused of representing themselves as U.S. citizens when they actually hailed from the Netherlands and Canada, respectively. Second, they were accused of pretending they were not married and of providing incorrect information regarding their employment. The statements and actions surrounding them led prosecutors to charge them with conspiring to commit tax fraud, mortgage fraud and money laundering.
For their actions, they were sentenced to two years in prison. They were also ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and to the mortgage lenders involving in their transactions. They were ordered to pay the IRS more than $575,000 and the mortgage lenders more than $5 million.
Those accused of mortgage fraud and other white collar crimes have often received substantial criminal penalties. These crimes have been a target of significant effort by federal prosecutors. Record-breaking punishments have become a regular occurrence in criminal courts for white collar crimes.
Source: NWF Daily News, "Couple sentenced to two years for fraud," 15 May 2013