May 31st, 2012 at 9:55pm
A real estate salesman who admitted lying about his income in order to build a mansion on land he had purchased (loan fraud, mortgage fraud), was sentenced to 18 months in prison for wire fraud and money laundering. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in San Francisco.
In a novel plea for mercy, Abraham Valentino, a Tiburon resident who is originally from Iran, told the court he had already suffered due to the loss of his reputation, his pride (=ego) and his right to vote. He also claimed that he might not survive prison at his age (53).
Valentino’s attorney, Jay Weill, while conceding his client lied in order to obtain $5.6 million, nevertheless blamed Valentino’s account and mortgage broker for the fraud.
Abraham Valentino’s real estate license is still active with the California Department of Real Estate (DRE).
Read the original article in the Marin Independent Journal.
May 31st, 2012 at 9:29pm
Justin Batemon, 34, one of the defendants in a $15 million mortgage fraud case that included members of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club, was sentenced to three years in prison.
Bateman, a resident of Hayward, conned lenders by submitting loan documentation (loan fraud) that falsely claimed he owned a company and altered bank statements to show he earned more income that he did. He also referred some of his friends who were Hell’s Angels members to the loan officer, co-defendant Jacob Moynihan.
According to U.S. District Attorney Melinda Haag, Batemon pleaded guilty to all counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. But that didn’t stop Judge William Alsup from slapping him with an enhanced sentence for obstruction of justice after prosecutors discovered he had forged a letter with respect to drug tests that had been ordered by the court.
The FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigations division performed the investigation.
Justin Batemon was also ordered to pay restitution after he has served his prison sentence.
Read the original article in the Silicon Valley Mercury News.
May 30th, 2012 at 10:08am
A Sacramento area real estate agent who conspired with two men and a group of closely-related straw buyers to deceive lenders (loan fraud, mortgage fraud) has been convicted of 13 counts of mail fraud after a six-day trial.
Behrooz Badie, 53, the broker and former owner of Above and Beyond Realtors, represented four straw buyers in the purchase of 16 homes. The straw buyers were procured by Derek Davis and were his ex-wife Harriette Davis, his girlfriend Kristina Harvey, his friend William Emmons and a creditor named Alan Bolton. The straw buyers never intended to occupy the properties, although they so indicated on their loan applications, because the properties were ultimately to be purchased by Derek Davis.
The mortgage broker for 15 of the transactions was Dino Rosetti. In each instance, the financial portrait of the borrowers (the straw buyers) was presented by overstating their incomes and understating their liabilities (loan fraud, mortgage fraud).
The creative part of this mortgage fraud conspiracy is that Behrooz Badie convinced the listing agents for the properties in which his buyers’ offers had been accepted, to alter their listings and increase the price above market value. This was done so that a phony surplus was created for the benefit of Derek Davis. Addenda were prepared – but never disclosed or shown to the lenders or their appraisers – to indicate that the surplus funds were for repairs or property improvements.
Derek Davis and Dino Rosetti have both previously pleaded for their part in this conspiracy and the real estate licenses of Badie and Rosetti have been revoked. No word on whether the listing agents have been disciplined by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) or if any of the straw buyers have been charged. How these inflated home prices got approved by the appraisers is also worth exploring.
Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.
May 17th, 2012 at 11:05pm
Ronald Nelson, 76, and his wife Edith Nelson, 53, both of Pleasant Hill, are going to prison for a unique scam: the couple have pleaded guilty to defrauding banks out of $20 million in order to purchase residential care facilities using straw buyers. Both Nelsons entered guilty please to charges of bank fraud, money laundering and tax charges.
The Nelsons’ scheme involved paying/bribing the straw buyers from $5,000 to $10,000 to submit fraudulent loan applications (loan fraud, mortgage fraud) to purchase residential housing, which they converted to so-called residential care facilities. Edith Nelson was sentenced to three years and 1 month in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Lowell Jensen and Ronald Nelson received 2 years and 8 months. They were ordered to pay restitution of $5.2 million.
Co-conspirators Nelda Asuncion, co-owner of Realty World Pacific West, 2 1/2 years in prison, and Cristeta Lagarejos, owner of Legacy Financing, received an 18 month sentence.
Read the original article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
May 4th, 2012 at 9:56am
James McConville, once a successful developer, was sentenced to eight years and nine months in federal prison for money laundering and conspiracy to commitmail and wire fraud. While in business, McConville referred to himself as “the West Coast Donald Trump.”
McConville purchased over 300 properties using straw buyers, falsifying loan documents and charging excessive “marketing fees,” a fact he hid from lenders (loan fraud, mortgage fraud). All told, he is said to have collected $12 million in his enterprise, which involved stealing from his own business partners.
IRS investigator Mary Williams and prosecutors are concerned that McConville has not disclosed where he has hidden all his ill-gotten gains. They believe he has hidden the money in Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Sweden and Cyprus, as well as the small Caribbean island of Nevis. They also believe he laundered some of the money through his family.
Read the original article in ABC 7 News.
April 26th, 2012 at 6:00pm
A woman who operated a Bakersfield tax preparing firm has admitted to participating in preparing and filing a fraudulent tax return to the IRS on behalf of a client. Her poor judgment is costing her dearly, as she has just been sentenced to three years and one month in prison for mortgage fraud by Chief United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii.
Patricia Ann King, 57, owned The Tax Kings and as a tax preparer assisted taxpayers (who became co-defendants) in submitting false loan application documentation so that they could obtain loans from mortgage lenders (loan fraud, mortgage fraud). She also claimed to be a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) when in fact she was not.
King must also pay $530,300 in restitution to the lenders that were defrauded and $174,002 in restitution to the IRS.
The Patricia Ann King case was the result of a cooperative investigation by the FBI, the IRS-CID (Criminal Investigation Division) and a mortgage fraud task force based in Fresno assembled by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff and Henry Z. Carbajal III were the prosecutors for the mortgage fraud case.
Read the original article in KERO 23.
April 26th, 2012 at 5:10pm
Scott Dority, 54, a San Marino man who pleaded guilty in March 2011 to stealing $9 million from lenders by using straw buyers to purchase properties with falsified loan documents (loan fraud, mortgage fraud), has been sentenced to 121 months in federal prison. Dority used much of us ill-gotten gains to buy houses and splurge on Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner imposed the sentence after Dority pleaded guilty wire fraud, conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and two counts of tax evasion. He was also required to allocute that the fraud he perpetrated resulted at least $4 million in losses to mortgage lending institutions (mortgage fraud) and $5 million to lenders who specialized in loans for cars (Ferrari fraud?).
The Scott Dority case was investigated jointly by the FBI, the IRS – Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID) and the United States Secret Service.
Read the original article in the Pasadena Star News.
April 26th, 2012 at 4:42pm
A mortgage broker who was accused of participating in a sophisticated mortgage fraud conspiracy with three other members of her family has received a stiff sentence by the judge.
Sushama Devi Lohia, 74, of Newport Beach, in December pleaded guilty to about 60 felony counts, including conspiracy, forgery, grand theft, identification theft and false recording of a deed (title fraud). She also pleaded guilty to 10 counts of tax evasion, according to Deputy District Attorney Douglas Brannan.
Lohia was accused of stealing more than $16 million from lenders by using straw buyers (people who “rent” their good credit out) to purchase properties on behalf of others. Loan applications were falsified, including inflating the income and assets of the applicants.
Lohia’s two daughters are awaiting their trials, as is a third relative.
Sushama Lohia’s real estate broker’s license is still active as of this date with the California Department of Real Estate (DRE).
Read the original article in the OC Register.
April 25th, 2012 at 9:13am
Gerald L. Wolfe, 41, an Irvine attorney and former real estate broker, is going to prison for 46 months after being convicted of wire fraud in a mortgage fraud scam. He also must provide $7.5 million in restitution to the banks from which he stole the funds.
Wolfe and his alleged co-conspirators purchase 30 homes in Orange and Riverside counties between 2005 and 2006 by using straw buyers, then falsifying loan applications (loan fraud, mortgage fraud). According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Sagel, Wolfe received $25 million in property that was funded by the lenders, with none of his own money, and received $2.2 million back in cash.
Read the original article in the OC Register.
April 25th, 2012 at 9:02am
A Carlsbad woman who is a real estate agent and her son, an attorney, are sitting in jail, awaiting sentencing after they were convicted by a jury of stealing $8 million from lenders.
Aida Agusti Castro, 67, and Stephen Kenneth Chrysler, 46, of Orange County, were both convicted of multiple counts of wire fraud in the sale of 16 homes in Oceanside, Escondido, San Marcos.
Stephen Chrysler was the owner and CEO of SKC Real Estate in Carlsbad. Aida Castro was an officer of SKC and sold real estate. Chrysler’s real estate license with the California Department of Real Estate is expired; I could find no record of Castro possessing a real estate license.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, through various means of falsifying loan statements and applications (loan fraud, mortgage fraud), the pair obtained up to $350,000 in real estate commissions and loan fees in the sales of properties. Considering they both receive 20 year prison sentences and $250,000 in fines, the so-called earned fees seem inadequate.
Read the original article in Courthouse News Service.