Man sentenced in case involving Rancho Santa Fe property

By City News Service

A San Diego real estate agent who submitted false loan documents for a drug trafficker to purchase two residences and property was sentenced Aug. 27 to four years in prison.

Marco Manuel Luis, 32, was also ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Irma E. Gonzalez to pay restitution to the banks that lost more than $500,000 because the properties were foreclosed, according to U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy.

Luis pleaded guilty March 19 to two counts of conspiracy to engage in money transactions in property derived from an unlawful activity.

Luis was charged with conspiracy to launder money related both to the purchase of a Rancho Santa Fe residence that exceeded $2 million and the purchase of a Palomar Mountain property and residence, Duffy said.

Luis admitted, as part of the plea, that he was the real estate agent for convicted drug trafficker Joshua Hester and submitted and facilitated false loan applications, verification documents and financial documents.

From December 2006 to September 2009 he assisted in completing the loan application for the Rancho Santa Fe property, knowing that Hester was its owner, Luis admitted.

Luis falsified the loan application in Kelsey Wiedenhoefer’s name with her alleged income, employment history and source of the down payment, but knew the payments were made with criminally-derived proceeds, Duffy said.

Luis also admitted preparing a fraudulent loan application in Jay Hanson’s name for the Palomar Mountain property and residence, with a misrepresented income and his employment history, then arranged for a false verification of rent form, Duffy said. The bank issued the loans as a result.

At his sentencing, Gonzalez found Luis clearly knew the money involved in the conspiracy for both counts, including the down payment and monthly mortgage payments, were drug proceeds. She found Luis intentionally hid the true owner of the properties to conceal drug proceeds.

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