Last week, a federal grand jury returned several indictments leveling charges at 9 individuals, including a Boca Raton woman. The charges are for mail fraud and bank fraud, all stemming from an alleged mortgage fraud scheme in California. The group charged is accused of illegal acts concerning 19 total properties in Carmichael, Sacramento and Copperopolis, California. The Florida woman was among several accused of acting as straw buyers in various transactions.

Prosecutors allege that the straw buyers used their good credit to submit loan applications to buy property. The applications would include false information regarding the income and assets of the straw buyers and would also indicate that the straw buyers intended to use the homes as their primary residences. The straw buyers in this case were generally the friends and family members of the two people accused of leading the group.

The two men, brothers, are real estate developers, builders and real estate sellers in California. They are accused of turning to straw buyers when the housing market collapsed to continue the flow of money necessary to maintain their operations. Their actions drew the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation unit.

If the men are convicted and are given the maximum penalty, they would be imprisoned for 30 years and fined $1 million. Many factors must be considered before concluding that the group is guilty. Even if guilty, the penalties of the various participants can be greatly impacted by a number of variables. Anyone accused of mortgage fraud should seek the assistance of an experienced defense attorney right away.

Source: LoanSafe.org, “9 Charged for Sacramento-Area Builder Bailout Mortgage Fraud Scheme Involving 19 Homes,” by Evan Bedard, 20 September 2012

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