BOSTON – A Methuen real estate broker pleaded guilty yesterday in connection with a sweeping conspiracy to defraud banks and mortgage companies by engaging in sham “short” sales of residential properties in Merrimack Valley.

Greisy Jimenez, 50, pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for April 24, 2018.  In March 2017, co-conspirators Jasmin Polanco, 37, a real estate closing attorney, and Vanessa Ricci, 40, a mortgage loan officer, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and are scheduled to be sentenced on March 23, 2018 and March 26, 2018, respectively. Also in March 2017, Hyacinth Bellerose, 51, a real estate closing attorney, was sentenced to time served and one year of supervised release to be served in home detention after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

The charges arose out of a scheme to defraud various banks via bogus short sales of homes in Haverhill, Lawrence and Methuen in which the purported sellers remained in their homes, with their debt substantially reduced...