California Real Estate Fraud Report

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Archive for the 'Mortgage Fraud' Category

Sacramento Man Sentenced in Mortgage Fraud Csae

June 16th, 2017 at 8:43am

Sergey Shchirskiy, 41, a loan processor in Sacramento, has been sentenced to seven years and 10 months in prison for his role in two mortgage fraud schemes and one tax fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Between April and November 2007, Shchirskiy and his co-conspirators purchased properties with straw buyers and took out home equity lines of credit using fraudulent documents and statements that Shchirskiy created. He also recruited the straw buyers and the loan applications he submitted contained untrue information about the buyers’ income, assets and intent to occupy the houses.

Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.

Former Employees Sue American Financial Corp., Claim Retaliatory Firing for Exposing Fraud

June 16th, 2017 at 8:08am

Four former employees of American Financial Corp. have filed a whistleblower lawsuit, accusing the company of firing them after they attempted to expose AFC’s alleged mortgage fraud.

The plaintiffs are Chris Springer, Steffen Mehnert and Sandra Reynolds, who were mortgage consultants, and Stacia Springer, a pre-qualification specialist. They say they were fired after they reported their concerns to management in March 2017.

The lawsuit alleges that the company intentionally falsified loan information, faked signatures, withheld negative financial information about an applicant and faked compliance with key deadlines.

American Financing issued a statement to The Denver Post, saying it will defend itself “vigorously against this meritless lawsuit and the false allegations …”

JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Flagstar Bank and PennyMac, were the banks allegedly defraud according to the lawsuit, as well as the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

Read the original article in The Denver Post.

 

New York Attorney Sentenced to 4 Years for Short Sale Fraud Scheme

May 11th, 2017 at 3:27pm

New York attorney Helene Stetch, 53, of Lindenhurst, has been sentenced Wednesday to  a prison term of 16 months to four years, according to a press release by the Queens County District Attorney.  In a novel form of short sale fraud, Stetch was accused of selling homes to new owners without paying off both the existing mortgages and obtaining approval from all lien holders.

The homeowners who thought they were conducting legitimate short sales were later surprised to receive foreclosure notices.

Stetch had worked at the law office of Kenneth Schwartz at Carle Place in New York and wrote most of the disbursement checks, which Schwartz, 67, signed.

Helene Stetch executed eight confessions of judgment totaling about $2.3 million, while Kenneth Schwartz executed confessions of judgment in favor of two homeowners totaling about $129,000.

Read the original article in the ABA Journal.

Vallejo Man Gets 10 Years in Prison for Stealing $10 Million

May 11th, 2017 at 3:13pm

Karim Akil, 50, was sentenced in federal court to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud and money laundering.

Akil was first indicted in 2009, entered a guilty plea as part of a plea deal in 2012 but according to prosecutors defrauded more people in 2012 and 2013 while waiting to be sentenced.

In a press release, Michael T. Batdorf, an IRS special agent in charge in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, said “Mr. Akil enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, with outrageous expenditures. Akil left a path of destruction, from properties that went into default and foreclosure, to straw buyers whose credit was ruined, to an escrow company that went out of business.”

Read the original article in the Fairfield Daily Republic.

 

Three From Long Island Arrested In $1 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

May 5th, 2017 at 8:45am

Nine people were indicted, and three arrested for an alleged mortgage fraud scheme that included some short sale fraud purchases. The scheme spanned two boroughs of New York City and resulted in more than $1 million in fraudulent gains.

The persons arrested were Janelle Defreitas, 37, of Uniondale; Lester Wayne Mackey, 63, of Wyandanch; and Darren Downes, 36, of Baldwin. Also named in the indictment were Raymond McKayle, 53, of East Flatbush; Jaipaul Persaud, 54, of Fresh Meadows; Roxanne Harmon, 51, of Jamaica; June Whyte, 54, of Ozone Park; Rickley Gregoire, 33, of Brooklyn; and Paula Blackwood-Sambury, 50, of Cambria Heights.

“Our investigation uncovered a brazen and elaborate scheme to defraud mortgage lenders and steal over $1 million,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “We have zero tolerance for anyone who tries to cheat the system — and we won’t hesitate to bring them to justice.”

Ironically, Roxanne Harmon is an investigator for the New York City Department of Investigation. One of the properties involved was apparently her own.

Read the original article, which includes the charges and details of the alleged mortgage fraud scheme, in The Patch.

 

Husband And Wife Convicted in Fraudulent Short Sale of Property Later Sold to Sacred Heart Academy

April 6th, 2017 at 1:58pm

On March 30, Joseph Atias and Sofia Atias were convicted of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and Medicaid fraud by a jury in federal court in Central Islip, New York.

According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of New York,

The fraud was designed to, and did, defraud Bank of America of over half a million dollars.  The defendants face penalties of up to 35 years’ imprisonment, the forfeiture of $560,000, and restitution of over $700,000.  After the verdicts, Joseph Atias was remanded to custody pending sentencing by United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley.

The convictions were announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.

“Through a web of lies and false documentation, these defendants stole more than half a million dollars from Bank of America and from Medicaid, which they used to line their own pockets,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde.  “The fine work of the FBI to bring these defendants to account for these crimes sends a clear message to anyone who contemplates engaging in mortgage fraud or Medicaid fraud: Do not even attempt it, because you will be caught and held responsible.”  Ms. Rohde extended her grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency responsible for leading the government’s investigation.

The defendants were convicted of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with the sale of property adjacent to Sacred Heart Academy for $925,000, after the defendants had sold the property in a short sale for $480,000 to discharge their mortgage debt.  In the short sale process, the defendants and a co-conspirator, an attorney who pleaded guilty and testified against the defendants at trial, concealed the offer from Sacred Heart Academy from the Bank of America.  In the short sale process, the defendants submitted a fraudulent contract of sale and other documents with false statements to Bank of America, and obtained approval of a short sale, wherein the proceeds from the sale of the property were less than the total amount of the mortgages on the property.  The defendants submitted these documents to Bank of America, falsely representing that there were no funds to pay the mortgages when, in fact, the defendants knew that Sacred Heart Academy, a high school in Hempstead, New York, had offered to buy the property for an amount sufficient to cover the mortgages on the property.  To accomplish the fraudulent short sale scheme, the defendants used a relative as a straw buyer of the property to create the appearance of an arms-length sale.  Shortly after that sale, the defendant’s straw buyer sold the property to Sacred Heart Academy for approximately half a million dollars in profit.

Nipomo Woman Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Senior Citizen in Reverse Mortgage Scam

April 6th, 2017 at 1:46pm

San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow announced that a Nipomo woman who scammed an elderly man out of $117,000 by conning him into taking out a reverse mortgage on his property, has been sentenced to one year in jail.

Araceli Cortes, 38, pleaded no contest to one count of felony grand theft with an enhancement for stealing more than $100,000. Her victim was a 74-year-old man who had financially backed her business.

In addition to serving her sentence, Cortes received four years of probation and must pay restitution.

Read the original article in CalCoastNews.com

Citrus Heights Real Estate Agent Sentenced to Prison in Mortgage Fraud Case

March 30th, 2017 at 3:35pm

Dianna Woods has received a three-year sentence in federal prison after being convicted of four counts of making false statements on loan applications. She was sentenced in Sacramento by Senior U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb.

Woods, 60, was a licensed real estate salesperson for a brokerage called VLD Realty, dba Trade House USA. VLD built and sold houses in residential developments in the Sacramento, Carmichael and Copperopolis areas. When the real estate market started to decline in 2006, VLD tried to sell some of its properties by making the down-payments for buyers and giving them money after the sale closed. Woods was accused of purchasing two of the houses without disclosing the kickbacks and also allegedly submitted loan applications and supporting documentation containing untrue information regarding the purchase terms, as well as her income, employment and assets.

The prosecution grew after the circumstances were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Two Plead Guilty in Massachusetts Short Sale Fraud

March 30th, 2017 at 3:17pm

Four persons are facing the justice system for their involvement in a short sale fraud scheme that occurred in Essex County in Massachusetts.

Jasmin Polanco, 37, a real estate closing attorney, and Vanessa Ricci, 40, a mortgage loan officer, each pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Both women have not yet been sentenced.

In the same alleged scheme, Methuen real estate broker Greisy Jimenez, 49,  was indicted this week on two counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

On March 22, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel sentenced a fourth person, Hyacinth Bellerose, 51, a real estate closing attorney from Dunstable, to time served and one year of supervised release to be served in home detention.

Jimenez, Polanco, Ricci, Bellerose and others allegedly submitted materially false and misleading documents to different banks so that the lenders would approve short sales. Approved short sales are required to be arms-length transactions where the seller and buyer are not acquainted through familial, business or other pre-existing relationships with one another. Also, the seller/borrower is almost always required to move out of the property following the sale.

Read the original article in The Patch.

Judge Sends a Signal as Former Executive Gets Prison in Seeno Mortgage Fraud Case

March 28th, 2017 at 11:26am

Pray that you are not a white-collar criminal whose sentence is up to Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

The Oakland judge sentenced Ayman Shahid, 41, of Rancho Santa Fe, to 46 months in federal prison. Shahid had pleaded guilty in 2015 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and had cooperated with federal authorities in their efforts to build a case against  the Discovery Sales corporation, which is the sales arm of the Seeno homebuilding empire. Federal prosecutors had asked for a lesser sentence for Shahid.

Judge Gonzalez Rogers said she wanted to make an example out of white-collar criminals because she believes federal financial rules appeared to be going in the direction of deregulation of the mortgage industry.

This is a case that dates back over seven years, which was when federal agents raided the Concord headquarters of the Senno family.

Read the original article in the Mercury News. There are also earlier postings in the California Real Estate Fraud Report about this case which you can search and read.

 

 

© Copyright 2007-2017 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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