U.S. authorities arrest a former Colombian drug trafficker along with 11 others for their alleged involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme valued at $16 million, international media reported Wednesday.
The arrest included four Colombians and eight other suspects from the U.S. and Latin American origins.
Authorities allege that the detainees were part of a company that submitted false loan documents to mortgage companies. They reportedly received funding for 10 of those loan requests.
Carlos Ramon Zapata, alias “El Medico” (The Doctor), a former Colombian drug trafficker, was charged with racketeering, conspiracy, organized fraud and money laundering. The other suspects will be charged with either grand theft or organized fraud charges.
Zapata had previously made a deal with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), receiving a minimal five year prison sentence in exchange for information about his Colombian and European partners. He was living in Miami, as part of his DEA deal, at the time of his arrest.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, the arrest could lead to his extradition out of the U.S.
Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi hailed the arrest. “With our country’s housing market in distress, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to eliminate mortgage fraud in our state,” said Bondi.