March 31st, 2015 at 3:27pm
According to an article in the Modesto Bee, Xue Heu, 38, who conned over $1.26 million from investors in California and Texas, pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts of wire fraud.
Heu and Thomas Dickey Price, 72, posed as representatives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who were selling foreclosed homes through their companies Liquid Assets & Land Investments Inc. and Capital Land Investments LLC. The homes had already been sold but the pair used forged deeds (title fraud) and other fraudulent documents in order to fool their victims.
Heu used the alias Michael Chan and Price used the names Albert Martin and Matt Taylor.
A third conspirator, Carla Lee Miller, signed a plea arrangement earlier this month.
Xue Heu will be sentenced in June in Fresno. If he pays restitution to his victims of $403,469 he could receive less than the 20 year sentence for which he is eligible.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the ace team at the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office real estate fraud unit.
Read a copy of the plea agreement Xue Heu made with the Office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.
March 26th, 2015 at 7:51am
The office of United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced that Joyce Esther De Armero was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay restitution for mail fraud in a real estate investment fraud case.
De Armero, 37, pleaded guilty on December 4, 2014, to mail fraud and admitted that she conned investors into giving her money to invest in high-interest real estate loans with guaranteed returns between July 2008 and January 2010. She confessed that she made no investments but spent the money on herself, other than using some of the funds from the later investors to re-pay the earlier ones, in order to keep her Ponzi scheme operating.
Read the original article in the Imperial Valley News.
March 26th, 2015 at 7:43am
According to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, Daniel Deaibes has pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to flip houses by first stealing the title to homes in Southern California.
In his plea agreement, Deaibes admitted that between September 2012 and November 2014 he and two alleged co-conspirators fraudulently sold or attempted to sell at least 10 homes for more than $2.3 million. Deaibes admitted that he and the alleged co-conspirators, one of whom owned several real estate businesses, would record fraudulent grant deeds at the county recorders’ offices and then immediately attempt to sell the properties to unsuspecting buyers.
The scheme unraveled when Fannie Mae, the owner of one of the properties, discovered the fraud and attempted to regain title. In response, Deaibes and the others created a fake “Withdrawal of Lis Pendens” in an effort to proceed with the fraudulent sale. Even after Fannie Mae won a court judgment, the co-conspirators recorded a fraudulent “Satisfaction of Judgment”.
Read the full article in FBI.gov.
March 20th, 2015 at 7:56am
This is a very good article about consumer protection with respect to financial services solicitation, which you can read in its entirety in Courthouse News Service.
Loan Payment Administration and its corporate parent Nationwide Biweekly Administration sued district attorneys in Monterey and Marin counties in October 2014 after a Monterey deputy district attorney said their solicitation letters violated state law. The latter company has a program called the “Interest Minimizer,” which in their mailed solicitations claims to save customers tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a loan.
Monterey County Deputy District Attorney John Hubanks, one of the defendants, said that some customers don’t realize those letters are coming from a third party. He also said that the letters from Nationwide Biweekly Administration do not disclose that it charges a fee for its Interest Minimizer program and that Nationwide employees are trained to “obscure the existence or amount of fees during phone calls.” (per Courthouse News Service).
The plaintiffs asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh for a preliminary injunction against the DAs, saying their free speech rights were violated and that “use of lenders’ name in truthful, non-misleading offers to potential customers does not violate any valid state law.”
Judge Koh, in her ruling, disagreed and denied the motion and wrote “Nationwide has not shown that the public interest weighs in favor of granting an injunction.” She found, among other things, that Nationwide did not show a likelihood of success on the merits of its First Amendment claim, and that “an injunction would prohibit local officials from enforcing statutes designed to protect consumers from the risk of fraud.”
March 17th, 2015 at 5:23pm
Bakersfield residents Eliseo Jara Jr., 35, and his brother, Sergio Jara, 33, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud in a $5.6 million mortgage fraud case. Sergio Jara’s wife, Melissa Jara, 34, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in the same case, according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.
According to prosecutors, from 2007 to 2010, the Jara brothers, who owned Jara Brothers Investments, conspired with other persons to use straw buyers to purchase residential properties in Bakersfield they had developed with Pershing Partners LLC. Straw buyers were paid to purchase the properties from the two firms and they were funded by submitting false documentation to the lenders. Melissa Jara admitted she had submitted fraudulent loan documents to a lender on behalf of a straw buyer in order to finance a property she owned in an LLC.
All three defendants have agreed to financial restitution and relinquishing six properties as part of their sentences, which have yet to be set.
This case is the product of a joint investigation by the Internal Revenue Service‑Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff, Henry Z. Carbajal III, and Megan A. S. Richards are prosecuting the case.
Four of the Jara’s co-defendants who have already pleaded guilty are Antonio Perez-Marcial (46 months in prison); Arlene Mojardin (awaiting sentencing); Candace Gonzales (awaiting sentencing); and Ricardo Salinas (awaiting sentencing).
Read the original article in KERO 23ABC News.
March 17th, 2015 at 4:42pm
The following is a press release from SIGTARP:
WASHINGTON, DC – Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), and Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, today announced that Michael “Sean” Davis, 43, of Crestview, Fla., pleaded guilty on March 13, 2015, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud; conspiracy to commit money laundering; making false statements to a federally insured institution; and fraudulently benefitting from a loan by a federally insured institution.
Between January 2006 and January 2011, while the president of Premier Community Bank of the Emerald Coast, Davis devised a scheme to defraud Premier Community Bank, Bank of America, and Beach Community Bank. As a part of the scheme, Davis solicited a straw buyer to submit false documents to purchase real properties via short sales from Bank of America. At Davis’ direction, the straw buyer then sold the properties the same day to third-party buyers. Davis authorized and approved loans from Premier Community Bank to these third-party buyers for the purchase of two of these properties from Davis’ straw buyer. As a result of these loans, Davis received approximately $297,408 through his company, MSD Investments. Through this scheme, Davis discharged approximately $743,425 in debt he owed to Bank of America for mortgage loans issued to Davis personally.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 28, 2015, before Chief United States District Judge M. Casey Rodgers at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola, Fla.
The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation with assistance from SIGTARP, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General, and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office as part of the Northwest Florida Financial Crimes Task Force.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.
This prosecution was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. SIGTARP is a member of the task force and co-chairs the Rescue Fraud Working Group. To learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.
March 13th, 2015 at 8:27am
The Office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner has announced that Anatoliy Azarov, 33, of Sacramento, has pleaded guilty to mail fraud in regard to a mortgage fraud scheme involving 24 residential properties.
Azarov and a co-conspirator, Vadim Vilchitsa, 32, had a business beginning in 2007 that solicited funds from investors to buy, renovate and flip residential properties. According to court documents the men convinced the investors to purchase the properties at inflated prices; they used the overage as working capital.
Prosecutors say that they helped the investors purchase properties through Yevgeniy Zazhitskiy, 39, a licensed real estate broker who worked as a loan officer.
Both Vadim Vilchitsa and Yevgeniy Zazhitskiy have already pleaded guilty in this case and have received sentences of 15 and 20 months in prison, respectively.
Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.
March 13th, 2015 at 7:47am
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has filed criminal charges against three men, including a disbarred attorney, according to a press release.
Stephen Lester Siringoringo ran the Siringoringo Law Firm in Garden Grove, but the firm had branch offices in Rancho Cucamonga, Upland and Glendale. He and Joshua Michael Cobb have been charged with 24 felony counts of money laundering and 23 felony counts of grand theft, to which they have entered pleas of not guilty. A third man, Alfred O. Clausen, may have left the country.
The bail for both Siringoringo and Cobb is set at $17.8 million and they remain in custody.
The California State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel has indicated that over 796 complaints have been filed by homeowners who said they were charged upfront (advance) fees of $3,500 to $8,490 for loan modification services. Although they were promised their loan modification would be handled by a licensed attorney, the criminal complaint alleges this was not the case.
The taking of advance fees has been illegal since October 2009.
Read the original article in the Press Enterprise. Click here to read the documents published online about Stephen Siringoringo.
March 12th, 2015 at 6:56am
Arlene Jeanette Mojardin, 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. Mojardin was a real estate agent (license revoked) who admitted that her participation caused lenders to lose almost $3.7 million in the conspiracy.
Mojardin (formerly Arlene Jeanette Jara) and eight other people were charged in 2012 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California. The allegations were that they used straw buyers to purchase properties developed by Jara Brothers Investments and Pershing Partners LLC by submitting falsified loan applications to the lenders.
Read the original article in Bakersfield Now.
March 12th, 2015 at 6:39am
A federal jury has convicted Nadia Kuzmenko, 35, of Loomis, Peter Kuzmenko, 36, Edward Shevtsov, 51, and Aaron New, 39, all of Sacramento, of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud for their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme that cost financial institutions approximately $16 million.
Kuzmenko, Shevtsov and New were also found guilty of money laundering associated with the scheme. Kuzmenko was also found guilty of witness tampering. They will be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez on May 26.
According to evidence presented at the trial by prosecutors from the office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, Nadia Kuzmenko, a real estate agent, created falsified loan applications on behalf of straw buyers during the period of 2006-2007. She and her co-defendants were able to obtain loans of more than $26 million for over 30 properties in the Sacramento area.
“The defendants … were important players in a network of fraudsters responsible for millions of dollars in losses associated with dozens of inflated property sales using multiple straw buyers,” says Mr. Wagner.
Co-defendants Vera Kuzmenko and Rachel Siders are still awaiting trial.
Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.