California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Loan Fraud' Category

Australian Man Gets Prison for $5,000,000 Loan fraud

November 23rd, 2012 at 8:49am

An Australian man who admitted he conspired with convicted criminals  Henrik and Hamlet Sardariani to steal money from a bank (loan fraud) has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for his role in concealing the proceeds.

Christopher J. Woods, 53, of Sydney, pleaded guilty in November 2011 to conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering. He was sentenced by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who ordered the former jockey to pay $3,510,000 in restitution as well as a $10,000 fine.

The Sardariani brothers lied to the lender, contending the loan money was to extend an already-existing escrow and to purchase a hospital when in fact they never intended to repay the loan. The bank was lulled into feeling their investment was safe because of of the assurances of Wandy Tenney, an escrow officer. After the lender wire half of the funds to Tenney’s escrow company, Christopher Woods and Henrik Sardariani ordered her to wire $1.9 million to Sardariani’s Hong Kong account. Woods’ proceeds was an additional $1.9 million, which he had wired to an account in Los Angeles.

Henrik Sardariani was sentenced last August to 10 years in prison. His brother Hamlet received 6 1/2 years. Wanda Tenney will be sentenced by Judge Phillips in May 2013 after pleading guilty to conspiracy.

This fraud was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News and the press release by the US Attorney’s Office Central District of California. There are also four earlier articles posted on the California Real Estate Fraud Report about Henrik Sardariani, Hamlet Sardariani and Wanda Tenney.

Citrus Heights Man Charged for Lying about Home Value to Get HELOC

November 21st, 2012 at 3:26pm

An investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has led to mortgage fraud charges against a Citrus Heights man.

Daniel Gherasim, 36, was indicted by a federal grand jury for bank fraud, false statements on a loan and credit application and money laundering. The charge relate to an application Gherasim made with a bank in order to get a home equity loan against a home he owned in Folsom. Prosecutors charge that he lied on his application about the amount of equity he had in the home (loan fraud, mortgage fraud).

The hearing was in front of U.S. Magistrate Dale A. Drozd.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.


Paso Robles Lender Pleads No Contest in Loan Fraud Prosecution

November 21st, 2012 at 1:21pm

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office announced that on November 6, Linda Ann Kennedy, who was president of 21st Century Financial Resources, Inc., pleaded no contest in a hard money loan fraud case.

Kennedy, 49, was originally charged with four felony counts and 10 special allegations related to fraudulent practices involving hard money loans and sale of securities. The Honorable Judge Barry T. LaBarbera accepted her plea, which has the effect in criminal cases as a guilty plea. The losses to her investors/victims occurred between 2006-2007 and totaled over $1.3 million.

Judge Barry LaBarbera will sentence Kennedy on December 3, which will likely result in a prison stretch for five years. In the meantime, her assets have been frozen.

Read the press release on this prosecution at the SLO D.A.’s website.

Prison Time for Marijuana Entrepreneur for Mortgage Fraud

November 9th, 2012 at 8:54am

A Clovis resident has been sentenced to 21 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill  for lying on loan applications (loan fraud, mortgage fraud) in order to purchase homes for her marijuana growing business.

Lynn Truong, aka Linh Thi Truong, 40, was prosecuted by the offices of  U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

Truong admitted she had conspired with her mortgage broker Monique Nguyen in order to get a $545,000 loan from Green Point Mortgage Funding. No word on the status of Nguyen, who also uses the name Monique Dzu Le.

The house, located in Willits, was converted to a commercial marijuana growing operation but was shut down by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Real Estate Agent Pleads Guilty in Elk Grove Mortgage Fraud Case

November 8th, 2012 at 8:22pm

A Sacramento man who was a licensed real estate agent and appraiser has pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud in a mortgage fraud he orchestrated to enrich himself.

Dameen Dedrick, 39, entered his guilty plea in federal court in Sacramento in front of  U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.

Dedrick was charged as a result of loan applications he submitted in 2005-2006 to purchase three Elk Grove homes. The loan apps contained false statements and Dedrick submitted fraudulent income and other financial statements to convince the lenders to grant him the mortgages, which totaled $1.1 million. The homes were purchased at no risk to him (100% financing) and he stated each was his primary residence in order to obtain lower interest rates.

Dedrick’s co-defendant, Roy L. Rice, 46, of Concord, of Concord, pleaded guilty in September for his participation in the scam. Roy Rice was also a licensed real estate agent; both he and Dameene Dedrick allowed their licenses to expire.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the FBI.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee and the FBI’s press release.


San Diego Woman Pleads Guilty in $11 million Mortgage Fraud

November 6th, 2012 at 9:36am

mortgage fraud investigation by the FBI that spread across three Southern California counties has ended after a successful prosecution.

Wanda Coleman, 59, from Pauma Valley, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a case that involved $20 million in loans to straw buyers in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

According to prosecutors, Wanda Coleman found properties in which she convinced the seller to accept a much higher offer than the listed price. She would have straw buyers then submit phony bank and income statements in order to get loans with the banks. Coleman collected the difference on the spread of the sale, then the straw buyers would default. The losses to the lender was over $11 million.

Any answers to this question: how did this homes get appraised for so much over market value? Without a fraudulent appraisal, it would seem these deals wouldn’t work.

Read the original article in the Press Enterprise.

California City PD Detectives Work Hard, Get 2 Convictions for Mortgage Fraud

October 30th, 2012 at 3:33pm

In a conclusion to a previous posting on the California Real Estate Fraud Report, two defendants in a $2.7 million mortgage fraud scam centered in Kern County have pleaded guilty, joining three co-conspirators who were previously convicted. This case had it all: loan fraud/mortgage fraud, notary fraud, real estate fraud, identity theft.

The press release from the California City Police Department follows:

Two defendants charged in connection with an elaborate mortgage fraud scheme to obtain over $2.7 million dollars on sham sales of newly constructed California City homes pled guilty to mortgage fraud charges this week in Kern County Superior Court.

Real estate broker Jay Edward Langner, 52 of San Juan Capistrano had been charged with nine felony counts of conspiracy, grand theft and identity theft. Langner pled guilty to conspiracy to commit grand theft on Thursday. The remaining charges were dismissed in exchange for his plea. Court documents allege Langner, doing business as Pacific Hills Realty, participated in a conspiracy to arrange sham sales of newly constructed homes and submit loan applications containing forged documents and fraudulent misrepresentations. Langner is expected to be sentenced to four years of incarceration and forfeiture of his real estate license at a sentencing hearing scheduled for November 27, 2012. [note: as of Oct. 30, 2012 Langner’s DRE license was still in good standing.]

Angie Cachu, 45 of Orange, had been charged with nine felony counts of conspiracy, grand theft and identity theft. Cachu pled no contest today to conspiracy to commit identity theft. The remaining charges were dismissed in exchange for her plea. Court documents allege Cachu was paid by co-conspirators to recruit straw borrowers and offer them money for the use of their identities. Cachu is expected to be sentenced to 12 months of incarceration followed by five years of felony probation at a sentencing hearing on December 6, 2012.

The investigation began in late 2008 when California City Detectives received an identity theft report from an Orange County man who claimed his identity had been used for a mortgage loan on a California City property. The investigation that ensued identified dozens of properties also linked to the scheme. California City PD Detectives traveled extensively throughout Southern California and Nevada over the course of the 2½ year investigation, served search warrants at 43 locations, and examined thousands of documents.

The guilty pleas follow the convictions of three other co-conspirators also charged in the case.

Khalid Malik Abdul Ali, 61, of California City had been charged with nine felony counts of conspiracy, grand theft and identity theft. Court documents allege Ali received kickback payments at loan closing for conspiring to arrange sham sales of newly constructed homes. Ali pled no contest to conspiracy in February of this year and was sentenced to five years of incarceration.

Appraiser Nathaniel Acree, 66 of Long Beach had been charged with four felony counts of conspiracy and grand theft. Court documents alleged Acree conspired to provide falsely inflated appraisals in support fraudulent mortgage applications. Acree pled no contest to grand theft in December 2011 and was sentenced to two years of incarceration and loss of his appraiser’s license.

Notary Elizabeth Torres, 29 of Santa Ana had been charged with two felony counts of fraudulent notarial acts. Court documents allege Torres knowingly notarized false or forged deeds of trust. Torres pled no contest to accessory to a felony in March of this year and was sentenced to 10 days incarceration, three years’ probation and loss of her notary commission.

The case was investigated by California City Police Department Detectives with the assistance of the Orange County District Attorney’s office Bureau of Investigation and US Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by the Kern County District Attorney’s office.

The California City Police Department is grateful to retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective Chris L. Christopher for his invaluable assistance during this investigation. Chris was a nationally recognized expert in real estate fraud investigation and had come out of retirement to assist California City Police Department with the investigation and pass down his legendary detective skills to a new generation of investigators. Chris died in a traffic accident last year. This was his last investigation.

Multi-State Mortgage Fraud Ring Broken Up

October 29th, 2012 at 2:03pm

Laura Duffy,  the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, has announced indictments in a mortgage fraud case that involved $100 million in real estate in California and Washington state.

Laguna Hills loan processor John Allen, 54, was charged last month by a federal grand jury for submitting fraudulent loan applications to lenders using straw buyers. The straw buyers were promised $10,000 in exchange for their participation in the scheme.

Los Angeles accountant Audrey Yeboah, 54, has already admitted her role by creating phony financial statements such as pay stubs and W-2 forms on behalf of the straw buyers. According to her guilty plea, Yeboah also admitted to reviewing financial statements that totaled over $14.5 million in kickbacks from the scheme.

Others who have been charged in this case are Mary Armstrong, an unlicensed mortgage broker; Armstrong’s assistant, William Fountain; Ramona real estate agent Teresa Rose; and a Seattle-area businessman named Justin Mensen.

Read the original articles in San Diego 6 and the Imperial Valley News.

US DOJ Sues Bank of America for $1 Billion in Losses Due to Mortgage Fraud

October 24th, 2012 at 10:32am

Ramping up an aggressive stance against mega-banks whose lending practices caused billions of dollars of losses to the taxpayer through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the US Department of Justice has filed suit against Bank of America for $1 billion due to mortgage fraud. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are large financial institutions, backed by the federal government, that purchase loans from banks in the secondary market.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed the suit. Its target is the “Hustle” loan program that originated with Countrywide Financial but was taken over when Bank of America purchased Countrywide in 2008. “Hustle” loans were named for Countrywide’s “High-Speed Swim Lane” (HSSL) program that was created ostensibly to streamline loans. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office charges that HSSL was “intentionally designed to process loans at high speed and without quality checkpoints, and which generated thousands of fraudulent and otherwise defective residential mortgage loans.”

Read more about this landmark lawsuit on CNN and the press release for the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York website.

San Diego Escrow Officer Acquitted in $11 Million Mortgage Fraud

October 22nd, 2012 at 10:39am

A unique mortgage fraud case that was tried in federal court has come to an end with the only defendant of 24 to be acquitted.

Escrow officer Billie Bishop, 52, of La Mesa, unlike most of the other defendants, did not plead guilty and instead elected to go to trial. Bishop had been charged with wire fraud and making a false statement to a bank; her case was the first time the racketeering law was used in a mortgage fraud case.

Prosecutors had accused her of processing 77 transactions in a scheme where the other defendants received more than the listed price for homes, with the remainder going to an account earmarked for construction upgrades. This special account was managed by Darnell Bell, a Lincoln Park gang member. The homes were purchased in the days of Ninja loans (No Income No Job or Assets) and most were foreclosed after the straw buyers walked away, with Bell and his co-defendants pocketing the loan money (loan fraud, mortgage fraud).

Billie Bishop was tried before U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Burns. The attorneys who represented her were Gastone Bebi and Jonathan Jordan.

After the trial, Bebi stated that prosecutors had been unable to prove that Bishop had any awareness that the construction work was being performed or that the sales were fraudulent (real estate fraud, escrow fraud).

Read the original article in U-T San Diego (San Diego Union Tribune).

© Copyright 2007-2015 Monique Bryher

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The information and notices contained on The California Real Estate Fraud Report are intended to summarize recent developments in real estate fraud, mortgage fraud, short sale fraud, REO fraud, appraisal fraud, loan modification scams, loan modification fraud and other real estate related crimes occurring in Los Angeles and California. The posts on this site are presented as general research and information and are expressly not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice. Much of the information on this site concerns allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. All persons are presumed innocent until convicted of a crime. Readers who have particular questions about real estate fraud, mortgage fraud and appraisal fraud matters or who believe they require legal counsel should seek the advice of an attorney.

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