Starting at 6 a.m. today, FBI agents began arresting the suspects, who lived in several different cities throughout the region, spokesman Joseph Schadler said.
The suspects include at least three current or former bank employees, eight real estate agents, and a mortgage broker. The charges for the various suspects include bank fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Authorities believe the schemes were perpetrated between 2005 and 2009, when the suspects allegedly obtained or used false documents to submit to lenders, exaggerated income and assets, understated liabilities, and provided false employment records or banking information.
All 18 suspects appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Bernard Zimmerman in San Francisco to face the charges, which could lead to up to 30 years in prison for each suspect, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
John Randolph Errazo Bernabe, 42, of Redwood City; Sam Bowley, 56, of Vallejo; Maria Comfort, 46, of Daly City; Jeanie Cusing, 48, of San Mateo; Ginger Daniel, 31, of Oakland; Ciu Du, 35, of San Francisco; and Marilyn Infante, 66, of San Francisco were all charged with bank fraud.
Norberto Agustin, 51, of Daly City; Vangeline Broyles, 46, of Redwood City; Roy Cervantes, 31, of Lincoln; Cleofe Soledad, 46, of Sunnyvale; Wilfredo Pascual, 51, of Daly City; Leonora Pomar, 56, of Colma; Joseph John Pugliese, 42, of Novato; Wazhma Rahimi, 27, of Antioch; Clarin Tambot-Querimit, 29, of Daly City; and Ricardo Tang, 51, of San Francisco, were all charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Gina Tchikovani, 43, of Redwood City was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The prosecution came after a seven-month investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.