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Archive for December, 2015

Woman Sentenced to 18 Years for Loan Modification Scheme with 4,000 Victims

December 11th, 2015 at 12:46pm

Andrea Ramirez, a 47-year old woman who prosecutors accused of being the “organizer” of a phony loan modification firm, has been sentenced to 18 years in federal prison.

One of Ramirez’ employees, Crystal Taiwana Buck, 40, of Long Beach, was also sentenced to five years in prison for convincing numerous victims to pay fees to 21st Century Services, Inc. for what were non-existent loan modifications.

“This fraudulent company purposely targeted homeowners who were extremely vulnerable because they were facing foreclosure,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker in a statement. “Ramirez and her co-defendants made false promises to desperate homeowners, often took the last of their money and then abandoned them. Her contempt for her victims will put her in federal prison for nearly two decades.”

“As the ringleader in a scheme to dupe thousands of distressed homeowners out of their last dollar at the height of the financial crisis, Andrea Ramirez earned the next 18 years in federal prison, which she should use to reflect on her victims,” said Christy Goldsmith Romero, Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) in a statement.

United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips also ordered Ramirez to pay $6,764,743 in restitution.

Below are sentences for the other defendants:

  • Albert DiRoberto, 62, of Fullerton, who handled both sales and marketing – which included making a commercial for 21st Century – was sentenced to five years in prison.
  • Yadira Garcia Padilla, 38, of Rancho Cucamonga – who, among other things, posted bogus positive reviews about 21st Century on the Internet – was sentenced to four years in prison.
  • Michael Bruce Bates, of Moreno Valley, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.
  • Michael Lewis Parker, of Pomona, was sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Catalina Deleon, of Glendora, is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14.
  • Hamid Reza Shalviri, of Montebello, is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, December 10.
  • Mindy Sue Holt, of San Bernardino, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
  • Iris Melissa Pelayo, of Upland, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Read the original article in the Long Beach Post.


Sacramento-area Women Convicted in $16 Million Mortgage Fraud Case

December 11th, 2015 at 12:30pm

A federal grand jury has convicted two women for operating a mortgage fraud scheme in the Sacramento area during 2006-2008.

Vera Kuzmenko, 45, of Loomis, and Rachel Siders, 40, of Roseville were found guilty of multiple counts of mail and wire fraud; Kuzmenko also was found guilty of witness tampering and money laundering.

Kuzmenko was a real estate agent during part of the time the scheme was operating. According to prosecutors, she created fraudulent loan applications for the straw buyers. Siders ran the Rocklin office of the escrow company used to close many of the transactions.

“Vera Kuzmenko was a major figure in a network of fraudsters responsible for a wave of mortgage fraud that hit the Sacramento area,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said in a written statement.

Read the original article in the Sacramento Bee.

Appraiser Blocked by Court from Collecting Whistleblower Reward

December 3rd, 2015 at 12:03pm

The appraiser who was the whistleblower on the Mutual Bank of Harvey has been blocked by a federal judge from receiving any of the proceeds of the case as a relator.

Kenneth Conner worked for the bank from 2000-2007 and first noticed and pointed out the fraud to his superiors at the bank. They told him they were aware of the appraisal values and to sign-off on them anyway; he was fired in 2007.

In June 2011, Conner filed suit against the bank, it’s owners, officers and some members of the board, as well as Oakbrook Terrace-based Adams Appraisal Corporation. The federal government declined to intervene in the suit, but the FDIC did, demanding $130 million in damages from the Veluchamy family, which owned 95% of the bank’s shares.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman has blocked the bid of a former appraisal reviewer who blew the whistle on alleged fraud at a failed suburban bank from collecting as much as a quarter of any settlement the directors of the bank may reach with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, upholding the ruling of another judge who ruled that “the FDIC did not constitute the government as contemplated” in the law, and therefore “Conner did not have a legally protectable interest in any settlement money that the FDIC recovered in that action.”

Read the original article in

HUD-OIG is Watching for Fraudulent Appraisals in Reverse Mortgages

December 3rd, 2015 at 11:30am

According to a report prepared by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the agency said that it has identified cases of fraudulent property appraisals being used to increase the loan amount for the refinancing of HUD’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, HECM.

The purpose for the run-up in appraisals would be to extract higher loan amounts from lenders, which would include loan backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Some of the appraisals were inflated as much as 60% to 100% over the true market value of the property.

In response, HUD-OIG has issued a warning to appraisers, loan officers, originators and sponsors that the consequences for those who engage in fraudulent HECM transactions will be severe and range from criminal, civil prosecution, or administrative sanctions “as appropriate.”

Read the original article in HousingWire.


© Copyright 2007-2018 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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