Four people who were charged in a mortgage fraud case were acquitted at trial after defense attorneys convinced jurors that the lenders were not victims and that the loans would have been approved anyway.
It’s a huge loss for U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, who is not accustomed to losing prosecutions in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
The defendants – Yevgenity Charikov, Vitaliy Tuzman, Nadia Talybov and Juliet Romanishin – had been accused of using straw buyers to purchase properties and then reselling them to different straw buyers at inflated prices using fraudulent loan documentation. Defense counsel had successfully argued via expert witness William Black that it was the “elite bankers” who were responsible for the mortgage crisis.
Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.
Addendum to this posting, which I cross-posted on LinkedIn under my account:
There is a lot of “buzz” about the acquittal of 4 people of mortgage fraud in Sacramento. The successful defense was that the banks underwrote loans they knew were probably fraudulent; hence, the banks aren’t victims. This is guaranteed to be a new defense in almost every future prosecution of mortgage fraud. What is left out in this analysis is that almost all of the no doc, subprime loans were sold off to Fannie/Freddie. They banks made their money upfront from points and fees, but the GSEs and taxpayers were left with the losses.