SAN FRANCISCO -- A former FBI employee and his wife pleaded guilty to bank fraud Thursday, with the husband further admitting that he had lied to the agency to maintain a top-level security clearance, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Daly City resident Charles Espinel, 61, who worked for the FBI for 32 years, and his wife Jeannette Espinel, 58, admitted that they defrauded First California Bank and Wells Fargo Bank in connection with mortgage loans they received to buy a $750,000 rental property in Daly City and a $600,000 rental property in San Bruno, court documents stated.
The Espinels said they bought the homes by jointly submitting fraudulent mortgage loan applications where they knowingly overstated their incomes and lied about their intention to live at the rental properties. The Espinels also admitted that they subsequently were able to get favorable changes to the loans by submitting false income tax returns they had altered, according to court documents.
The Espinels said the total loss from their bank fraud, which ran from 2006 to 2010, was over $83,000. Charles Espinel, a former support services technician with the FBI, also admitted that due to his job's requirements, he submitted false financial information -- including omitting his wife's income and not disclosing his rental properties purchase -- to the agency to maintain his top-level security clearance, something that would have been in jeopardy had his superiors discovered he had lied to his banks.
The maximum sentence for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The Espinels are scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 12 in San Francisco.
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