A South Florida author who wrote a book about foreclosures and loan modifications was arrested along with her sister for their roles in an elaborate $1 million Ponzi scheme, Miami-Dade Police said Monday.
Odalis Freixa, 48, and Marisela Gamez, 49, both of Coral Gables, surrendered to police on Friday after warrants were issued for their arrest in operation "Not So Sweet Deal," police said.
Freixa and Gamez face charges including grand theft, organized scheme to defraud and organized fraud in the scheme that brought in over $1 million in seven years, police said.
Police say Freixa, the mastermind of the scheme, conducted community outreach seminars and wrote a book titled "The American Dream It's Not Forgotten" in order to educate consumers of the options homeowners have in dealing with foreclosures and loan modifications.
Using her knowledge in the mortgage and real estate industry, Freixa came up with the Ponzi scheme to steal money from unsuspecting victims, mostly friends she has known for many years, police said.
Gamez, Freixa's sister, helped in the scheme by providing false contracts and using delay tactics on victims by lying to them on their position in the loan modification process and or foreclosure properties that Freixa was trying to sell to her victims, police said.
Freixa using several companies to help in the scheme, including FL Home Holdings LLC, FL Home Loans LLC, FL Home Realty Services, LLC, as well as a non-profit corporation, The H.E.R.O. Foundation, Inc., police said.
Both sisters were being held without bond Monday and it was unknown whether they have attorneys.
Police believe there may be other unreported victims and are asking anyone who may have been victims of the sisters to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.