Henrik Sardariani, 44, Glendale, California, pleaded guilty to five felony charges, admitting that he defrauded private money lenders out of more than $5 million by fabricating numerous documents and pledging as collateral properties he did not own.
Specifically, Sardariani pleaded guilty to conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud and money laundering.
The defendant has been in custody since December 21, 2010, when he and his brother, Hamlet Sardariani, were arrested by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.
According to a plea agreement filed in this case, Henrik Sardariani obtained more than $5 million in loans after, among other things, falsifying numerous documents. In order to obtain one of the loans, Henrik Sardariani fraudulently used a house as collateral and falsely claimed to be the president of the company that owned the property. To support the claim that he controlled the company, Henrik Sardariani created false corporate records that were presented to the lender.
Henrik Sardariani also admitted that he created fraudulent property records to make it appear that prior loans had been paid off and that, therefore, new loans would be fully secured by unencumbered property. The fraudulent reconveyances bore forged and fraudulent signatures of notaries public, as well as fraudulent stamps of the notaries public.
In relation to another loan, Henrik Sardariani falsely told a lender that a loan was only needed briefly to extend a pre-existing escrow, would be needed for no more than a month and would result in a substantial payment to the lender when the loan proceeds were deposited into the pre-existing escrow. In fact, as Sardariani admitted, he intended to use the loan proceeds to bet on horse races. After the lender wired $2.5 million to the escrow account that Sardariani had designated, Sardariani instructed the escrow officer to wire the funds to a Hong Kong bank account to fund the gambling.
The escrow officer, Wanda Tenney, pleaded guilty to conspiracy on November 30, 2011, and is scheduled to be sentenced later in 2012.
Henrik Sardariani pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on March 26, 2012. When he is sentenced, Henrik Sardariani faces a statutory maximum sentence of 75 years in federal prison.
Hamlet Sardariani, 42, Sylmar, California, is scheduled to go on trial before Judge Nguyen on March 6, 2012.
The case against Sardariani was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.