SAN DIEGO–A Chula Vista man was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to 129 months in custody for his involvement in a conspiracy to steal and misuse mortgage customers’ sensitive personal information.
Victor Alejandro Fernandez, 42, was charged along with Jason Ray Bailey, John Gordon Baden and Joel Nava with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer hacking. Fernandez was also charged with aggravated identity theft. All four men have pleaded guilty.
According to charging and sentencing documents, between 2011 and 2014, Fernandez and his co-conspirators were part of a Tijuana-based conspiracy that hacked the computer servers of major U.S. mortgage brokers, stole over 4,200 customers’ mortgage applications, and then used the victims’ social security numbers, addresses, dates of birth and personal information to open unauthorized lines of credit and take over and drain victims’ retirement and brokerage accounts.
For example, according to Fernandez’s plea agreement, he identified multiple victims’ brokerage accounts and fraudulently took control of the victims’ accounts by first calling the brokerage companies and providing the victims’ personal identification information, and then changing the victims’ passwords and contact information. Once he and his co-defendants gained control of the accounts, members of the conspiracy wired funds from the victims’ brokerage accounts to co-conspirators’ U.S. bank accounts in the San Diego and Calexico areas. Several of these wires were over $20,000 and $30,000 each.
Fernandez was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, computer hacking, and aggravated identity theft.