California Real Estate Fraud Report

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More Indictments of Russians in Sacramento Mortgage Fraud

A joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI into a large fraud in the Sacramento area has resulted in 25 indictments over the past six months, mostly of persons of Russian background.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner stated that First Franklin, a now-defunct subprime lender that was purchased by Bank of America, was the target of $16 million in fraudulent loans used by the group to buy several dozen homes.

Some of the defendants, all of whom have pleaded not guilty, are relatives or friends of members of Bethany Slavic Missionary Church, located on Jackson Road. They are accused of recruiting straw buyers, helping falsify the straw buyers’ income in order to qualify for loans (loan fraud, mortgage fraud). Prosecutors charge that the defendants additionally inflated the value of the homes by submitting phony construction invoices for repairs and improvements.

Facing charges are Vera Zhiry, Vera Kuzmenko, Pyotr Bondaruk, the son of Bethany’s co-founder and head pastor, Adam Bondaruk, Peter Kuzmenko, Nadia Kuzmenko, real estate broker Aaron New, Sergey Blizenko, Veniamin Markevich and Edward Shevtsov. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Steven Lapham.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee. Additional information can be found on the federal Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force,


© 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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