6 Convicted of Running Straw Buyer Mortgage Scam

Allison Tussey —  May 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

After a 12–day trial, a federal jury found six defendants guilty of all counts of wire fraud in connection with a $5 million mortgage fraud scheme.

Irina Markevich, 30, Rio Linda, California; Anatoliy Markevich, 35, Sacramento, California; and Marina Pukhkan, 53, Rio Linda, were each convicted of two counts of wire fraud. Daniil Markevich, 38; his wife Svetlana Markevich, 38, both of Escondido, California; and Alex Markevich, 40, Rio Linda, were each convicted on one count of wire fraud.

According to evidence presented at trial, between February 2007 and March 2008, the defendants each obtained home loans using fraudulent loan applications and related documents that contained false information about their income, assets, bank accounts, and intent to occupy the residences. The proceeds of the fraud scheme were derived from inflated purchase prices and payments for fake construction work that never in fact took place.

All together the defendants obtained over $5 million in home loans for six properties in Roseville, Sacramento, and West Sacramento, and then made only between three and six payments before letting the loans go into default. Although their loan applications claimed that they individually made approximately $190,000 to $426,000 per year, the defendants’ tax returns showed that they actually made only between about $3,000 and $22,000 in 2007, the year they purchased the homes.

Each of the properties purchased by the defendants was foreclosed upon within about one year of the purchase date. For acting as straw buyers in this mortgage fraud scheme, the defendants were collectively compensated hundreds of thousands of dollars and purchased such things as a Lincoln Navigator and a limousine with the proceeds. The total fraud proceeds to them, other family members, and other participants in the scheme was in excess of $700,000.

All of the defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Mendez on August 11, 2015. Each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of conviction. 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.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the convictions.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Christopher S. Hales and Special Assistant United States Attorney E. Kate Patchen are prosecuting the case.


Allison Tussey

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