Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Carmel on the Case: Foreclosure Fraud
7 News first exposed this woman in a Special Investigation. Police now say this South Florida party planner can add a new venture to her resume: investment fraud. 7's Carmel Cafiero has the story.
WSVN -- Judge: "Ms. Nunez do you speak English?"
Ana Maria Nunez: "Yes I do your honor."
Facing a judge is quickly becoming old hat for Ana Maria Nunez.
Judge: "I'm going to find probable cause on the organized fraud and the grand theft."
Nunez making her latest first appearance Tuesday morning, accused of operating a sham foreclosure business under the name of "ATP Expediter & Investments."
Detective Marjorie Tamayo: "Ms. Nunez portrayed herself as an investor of real estate, buying foreclosures and properties that were being sold via short sale."
Miami-Dade Police detective Marjorie Tamayo says victims shelled out thousands of dollars to Nunez with the promise of doubling their investment within a week.
Detective Marjorie Tamayo: "So if they would give her $5,000 she would give them $10,000."
The problem with her plan? Investigators say they found no record of her buying any properties during the three month period people were giving her their cash. Police say she took the money and kept it.
Detective Marjorie Tamayo: "None of the monies were returned, none of the victims ever received their initial investment, or any of the profit that was promised to them."
The total so far is no small chunk of change.
Detective Marjorie Tamayo: "It's around $49,000"
Nunezs' face may be familiar to 7 News even if she tried hard to hide it.
It was 2008 and Nunez and her husband were leaving court in connection with another set of fraud charges.
Ana Maria Nunez: "They ruined my life too. I know my rights too, but no, not me to do that."
As 7 News first revealed, Nunez was involved in a party planning business called Dream Stages, customers called the business a nightmare.
Melba Gonzalez: "I had to pay $13,000 out in the front. Money that I had already paid."
Carmel Cafiero: "At this hour, Ana Nunez remains locked up. Since she was out on bond in connection with the party business, that judge will now have to decide if she goes free again."
Authorities say seven victims have come forward so far, but believe there may be as many as two dozen. If you are one of them, you're urged to call the Miami-Dade Police Department or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305-471-tips.
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