FRESNO Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A mortgage loan officer and real estate agents were charged in a mortgage fraud scheme in the Central Valley, according to The U.S. Department of Justice.

Officials say a federal grand jury returned an indictment against 55-year-old German Antonio Lopez-Velasquez of Modesto, 27-year-old Marko Antonio Lopez of Modesto, and 48-year-old Lisa Marie Santos of Long Beach, charging them with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Lopez-Velasquez was also charged with witness tampering. He allegedly tried to persuade someone to make false statements to law enforcement officers regarding the investigation, according to officials.

Court documents say Lopez-Velasquez and Lopez were both real estate agents that worked with Santos, a mortgage loan officer, to obtain fraudulent mortgage loans for properties based in different counties. They used false documents, fake companies, and fake people to obtain mortgage loans for borrowers who were not qualified to receive loans.

In total, officials say the defendants caused lenders to issue at least 30 loans based on false information with a total loan principal loan balance of over $10 million.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, if convicted the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Lopez-Velasquez faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for witness tampering.