Isle man is sentenced in million-dollar scam
A Hawaii man who defrauded 50 people of more than $1 million in Texas was sentenced yesterday to six years and three months in prison.
George Eric Cardona, who pleaded guilty in January to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering, had been charged in a 17-count indictment in the Northern District of Texas in August 2004.
He was ordered to pay $1.012 million in restitution.
Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation agents based in Texas arrested Cardona in Hawaii on July 21, 2004. Cardona has lived in Hawaii for the past several years.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Texas, Cardona created a shell corporation, First Cambridge Mortgage Corp., and moved it into a space previously occupied by a legitimate Dallas mortgage company called Union Mortgage Co.
He obtained the same telephone number that had been listed for Union Mortgage and pretended First Cambridge was its legal successor.
The indictment alleged Cardona received calls and faxes from title companies asking about payoff balances on mortgages held by Union Mortgage. Cardona would send loan payoff information to others, caused the release of lien documents to be sent and caused others to send loan repayment checks to him, the indictment said.
Cardona deposited checks into a First Cambridge bank account and kept the funds for his own use, federal prosecutors said.
Cardona first acknowledged there was no First Cambridge Mortgage during a 1999 deposition in a lawsuit Union Mortgage filed against him and First Cambridge.