3 Charged with Straw Buyer Scheme

Allison Tussey —  March 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

Surjit Singh, 66, Dublin, California; his son, Rajeshwar Singh, 38, Pleasanton, California; and Anita Sharma, 51, Gilroy, California, have been indicted and charged with mail fraud, bank fraud, and false statements on a loan and credit application.

The indictment alleges that Surjit Singh recruited individuals with good credit to act as straw buyers for residential properties owned by his family members and associates. Rajeshwar Singh, a licensed real estate agent, assisted in the scheme by submitting loan applications for the straw buyers. The Singhs prepared and submitted applications to lenders that falsely stated the straw buyers’ income, employment, liabilities, and intent to occupy the homes as their primary residences. The straw buyers included Anita Sharma.

According to the indictment, the defendants were responsible for the origination of more than $2.1 million in residential mortgage loans. Four properties are charged in this indictment. They are in Elk Grove, Sacramento, Modesto, and Stockton, California. All of the properties were foreclosed on, resulting in a total loss of more than $1.2 million.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Lee S. Bickley is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the charges.

Allison Tussey

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