Lynda Sanabria, a J.P. Morgan Chase banker, was sentenced today to six months in prison, followed by six months of home confinement, for her role in a commercial bribery and tax evasion scheme. Sanabria admitted accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes while she was employed at Chase, in return for selling mortgage loans to her preferred customers on the secondary mortgage market. She was also ordered to pay $40,420.50 in restitution to the IRS.
As part of her October 2014 guilty plea, Sanabria admitted that between 2004 and 2010, she used her position and influence at Chase to ensure that her preferred customers won their bids to purchase the loans. One of Sanabria’s preferred customers was Israel Hechter, the owner of San Diego-based mortgage investment firms Ocean 18, LLC, and Note Tracker Corporation. Sanabria would provide Hechter with confidential information about competitors’ bids and about the loans Chase offered for sale.
In exchange, Hechter paid Sanabria a fixed payment of up to $300 per loan, which over time totaled at least $210,000 in bribes. On one occasion in 2004, Hechter delivered around $70,000, which Sanabria used to buy property in Lake Havasu, Arizona. By 2008, Hechter stopped reporting the illegal payments to the Internal Revenue Service, and Sanabria stopped paying taxes on the illegal income. As noted in Sanabria’s guilty plea, Hechter later referred to the payments as birthday gifts or consulting fees, in order to disguise the fact that he was paying for influence over her decisions at Chase.
The original article can be found at www.fbi.gov