Liza Bautista was a mortgage broker with a strong client base inside her Christian church in Tukwila. After successfully closing several prime loans for folk with A-paper credit, she targeted consumers who were turned down by lenders and created two sets of loan documents. She submitted the credit history and identity of her prime, A paper clients to the lender funding the loan. When it was time to sign papers, she forged her A paper client’s names on the loan documents and sent everything in for funding. For the poor credit clients, she hand carried a second set of documents to be signed and then made a special offer to personally hand carry their mortgage payment to the lender each month. (Note to consumers, don’t ever agree to this.) Of course, the payments never made it to the bank. Liza kept the money and subsequently, the lender started to foreclose on the A-paper owners, whose name appeared on title as the owners of record. When the A-paper clients were finally contacted by the lender and claimed they did not own said house, Liza started running out of places to hide. The poor credit clients who were thrilled to be homeowners were obviously upset that their name were not on the title to the home and they were evicted after foreclosure.
Eliza Bautista landed herself in handcuffs…four years after the KING 5 Investigators exposed a scheme she orchestrated where she sold homes, loans and promises that were bogus to naïve home buyers.
Mary Pelayo of Bellevue was one of Bautista’s victims in 2006. She was astounded when KING 5 told her that her former mortgage broker had been arrested by federal agents.
“I’m shocked. I would never have thought this day would come. We gave up hope. We thought she got away with it,” said Pelayo. “I hope she goes away for a long time and has a long time to think about all the hurt that she put our families through. Not just mine but all the other families involved in this.”
Four years ago, Pelayo was featured in a KING 5 News story which showed that the home she thought she and her family had purchased in Shoreline actually wasn’t theirs at all. Three months after moving in, the Pelayos had to move out. “We lived in this house for over three months. We thought this was our home. We started fixing it up. We put a lot of money into it (and) a lot of work. And then to find out it’s not ours!” Pelayo told us.
Unbeknownst to them, their mortgage broker, a polished Eliza Bautista, had secretly stolen another client’s social security number and good credit scores. Bautista used that information to buy a home for the Pelayos, who had shaky credit.
KING 5 found Bautista had done this several times with other unsuspecting clients. After the KING 5 Investigation aired, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office took on the case.
Liza Bautista faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of the mail and wire fraud charges. Her trial is scheduled to begin in October.