LOS ANGELES – A long-time international fugitive who is charged with nine felonies for allegedly participating in a $9 million bank fraud scheme against Wells Fargo has been taken into federal custody in Los Angeles.
Napoleon Olarte, 41, formerly of Reseda, lived in South America as a fugitive since approximately 2011 and was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2017. He self-surrendered to federal law enforcement yesterday and his initial appearance on the criminal charges is scheduled for today in United States District Court.
Olarte is the third and final defendant charged in the mortgage fraud scheme. Olarte’s two co-conspirators – Juan Jose Calle and Nancy Karina Coleman – previously pleaded guilty to charges in the scheme and have served prison sentences in the case. Olarte fled to Venezuela when federal agents began investigating the case, and he had been living in Venezuela for much of his time as a fugitive. He relocated with his family to Uruguay in approximately November 2018. Shortly before to his move to Uruguay, federal agents established communication with Olarte and, after numerous conversations between Olarte and federal agents between October 2018 and March 2019, Olarte agreed to self-surrender. Olarte was arrested yesterday as he entered the United States at Miami International Airport. Agents then transported Olarte to Los Angeles to face the criminal charges alleged in the indictment.
According to court documents, Coleman worked as a mortgage consultant at Wells Fargo while Olarte and Calle ran Fast Escrow, a rogue brokerage and escrow company in Northridge. Between August 2008 and January 2009, Coleman accepted bribes and other favors in exchange for approving $9 million in fraudulent loans for Olarte and Calle, according to an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint in the case. Olarte allegedly submitted fraudulent loan applications to Wells Fargo that contained false information for borrowers’ income, assets and employment. On some of the Wells Fargo-financed loans, Olarte allegedly failed to pay off existing loan holders and failed to record liens in favor of the bank, leaving Wells Fargo with no collateral when the loans defaulted.
Olarte has been charged with one count of conspiracy, six counts of bank fraud, and two counts of making false statements to a financial institution. If convicted on all counts, Olarte would face a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each of the nine counts.