HOUSTON – A Houston stepmother and son were sentenced to federal prison time and ordered to pay nearly $13 million in restitution between the two of them after a scheme cost a California bank more than $6 million, officials said. This was the largest fraud loss in the bank’s 113-year history, according to the FBI.
Carlos Wydler, 49, and Leyla Wydler, 60, were convicted on multiple counts including conspiracy, bank fraud, false statements on credit applications, wire fraud and mail fraud, U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick announced.
On Wednesday, the U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sentenced Carlos Wydler to 7 years in federal prison and ordered him to pay $6.8 million in restitution to the bank and its insurer.
Two months ago, Leyla Wydler received an 11-year sentence and was directed to pay $6 million in restitution.
“The FBI prioritizes financial institution fraud because it is not a victimless crime. Although the Wydlers did not wield weapons or threaten tellers, they endangered the stability of the federal banking system and our economy,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner.
Prosecutors said Leyla and Carlos developed the fraudulent loan scheme after Carlos was hired as a vice president at the California bank in charge of the bank’s credit card department in 2007.
Leyla Wydler, who owned several Houston-area businesses including Globan Mortgage Company, Casa Milagro and First Milagro, would send credit card applications to the bank on behalf of borrowers. Carlos Wydler, who was employed as the Vice President in charge of the bank’s credit department, would then approve the applications for high credit lines and used “balance transfers” to take out cash advances.
Leyla Wydler also took a fee for processing the applications.