August 4th, 2016 at 9:08am
Real estate agent Alla Samchuk, 45, has been found guilty of six counts of bank fraud, six counts of making a false statement to a financial institution, one count of money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
Court documents revealed that from 2006 through 2008 Samchuk operated a mortgage fraud scheme involving three properties in the Sacramento area, specifically Roseville and El Dorado HIlls. Unable to qualify for a loan to make the purchases herself, Samchuk employed the services of straw buyers to apply for the loans. She caused the submission of loan applications containing false representations of income, employment, assets, and a false indication that the straw buyers would occupy the homes as their primary residence.
A second objective of the scheme was to obtain HELOC (home equity line of credit) funds. According to evidence at trial, on two of the properties, Samchuk diverted or attempted to divert HELOC funds to her own benefit. Samchuk caused the HELOC loans to fund by submitting false statements and documents to the lender regarding the qualifications of the straw buyers.
Turning against her own straw buyers, Samchuk filed an application for a HELOC on one of the properties without the straw buyer’s knowledge or consent (HELOC fraud). To obtain the HELOC, she forged the signature of the straw buyer on a short form deed of trust that she caused to be notarized and recorded. The stated purpose of the HELOC was home improvement, but once the line of credit was funded, Samchuk quickly diverted all of the funds to her own use, spending the proceeds on a Lexus and the repayment of a substantial personal debt.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Audrey B. Hemesath and Andre M. Espinosa prosecuted the case.
July 31st, 2013 at 3:50pm
A long-time estate agent is in hot water with authorities for allegedly defrauding a couple out of $270,000 in a real estate fraud scheme.
Judy T. Gong, 53, was arrested and charged with two counts of grand theft by embezzlement, two counts of forgery, fraudulent filing of a tax return, failure to file a legitimate return, and perjury after a Lafayette couple filed a complaint with the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office. After conducting their initial investigation the DA’s office contacted the state Franchise Tax Board, which initiated its own investigation.
Gong is accused of twice convincing the couple to take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC), from which she then allegedly siphoned the funds after forging their names on bank documents.
The Franchise Tax Board’s investigation found that Gong underreported her income by over $500,000 in 2008 and failed to report $418,000 of bank deposits in 2009.
Contra Costa District Attorney Mark A. Peterson was quoted in his office’s press release as saying, “This office will prosecute anyone who robs victims of their hard-earned money in a real estate fraud scheme. Swindlers and con-artists will not be tolerated and will continue to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Read the original article in the Mercury News.
August 20th, 2009 at 4:39pm
Wells Fargo Bank is the target in a new class action lawsuit that accuses the mega-bank of fraudulently claiming that the property values of its customers had declined and using that as a pretense to shut off home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).
Homeowner Michael Hickman, of Westmont, Ilinois filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and other Wells Fargo HELOC holders. The lawsuit claims that Wells Fargo used computer models to “appraise” the homes instead of licensed appraisers and that the bank did not give its customers sufficient notice of either its intent to “re-appraise” or what the consequences would be. It then required customers contesting the computer appraisals to pay for their own appraisal to show that the computer appraisal was incorrect in order to seek reinstatement of the HELOC.
In Mr. Hickman’s case, after Wells Fargo froze his HELOC, it then “offered” to flip him into a high-interest credit card. Bait-and-switch, anyone?
Note: This author opines that computer modeling is a wildly inaccurate method of appraising homes and can be easily manipulated to obtain the outcomes desired by those who employ them, especially when the algorithms are not made available so they can be validated. Home values can fluctuate significantly between neighborhoods and it is highly improbable that any programming either takes into account such variations or that it would even be possible to program the variations into the model.
Michael Hickman’s attorneys are Jay Edelson, Steven Lezell and Evan Meyers, all with KamberEdelson LLC. KamberEdelson has previously sued JP Morgan Chase, WaMu, and Citibank in class actions over similar HELOC cancellations or suspensions.
Read the Full Article in TradingMarkets.com