A federal jury Friday has convicted Vera Kuzmenko, 45, of Loomis, and Rachel Siders, 40, of Roseville, of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud for their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme that caused losses to financial institutions exceeding $16 million, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
Vera Kuzmenko was additionally found guilty of witness tampering and money laundering.
Prosecutors presented evidence during the trial that, from late 2006 through early 2008, the defendants ran a mortgage fraud scheme in the Sacramento area involving at least 30 properties. Vera Kuzmenko was a licensed real estate agent who helped straw buyers by creating fraudulent loan applications that contained false information regarding their income, jobs, assets and their intent to reside in the properties.
Rachel Siders operated the escrow company used for most of the transactions. She funneled millions of dollars to Kuzmenko and other defendants, a fact which was not disclosed to the lenders (escrow fraud).
“Vera Kuzmenko was a major figure in a network of fraudsters responsible for a wave of mortgage fraud that hit the Sacramento area,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner. “As the guilty verdicts in this case demonstrate, mortgage fraudsters who believe they can escape accountability for their crime by blaming others and offering false alibis are mistaken.”
Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.