45 Indicted in Ohio Mortgage Fraud Case Involving 453 Homes

Allison Tussey —  August 26, 2009 — 6 Comments

An 18-month investigation led to indictments against 41 people and four companies. The defendants are alleged to have engaged in real estate transactions to purchase 453 homes in Ohio with fraudulent loans totaling $44 million.

Uri Gofman, Beachwood, Ohio, is alleged to have orchestrated one of the nation’s largest mortgage fraud cases by enlisting family, friends and others to invest in his real estate company, Real Asset Fund, with promises of profit. Gofman‘s enterprise began with seed money from an investor who transferred funds from a bank account in Latvia. The scheme involved using straw buyers to purchase homes, falsely claiming home improvements were performed on houses in order to refinance them, and then selling houses to unqualified buyers with the assistance of real estate agents, mortgage brokers and title companies.

Lenders were tricked into believing that the buyers were making at least a 10% down payment when they were not, that the buyers had assets when they did not, and that the properties were worth more than they actually were. Gofman and others defrauded lenders through loan application fraud, down payment fraud and loan distribution fraud. The defendants siphoned off more than $31 million in profits from their criminal enterprise. Eventually, 358 of the homes fell into foreclosure.

The following 11 defendants were indicted on mortgage fraud-related offenses including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first degree felony: 

Uri Gofman, Tony Viola, Igor Gofman, Kevin Landrum, Dave Pirichy, Dale Adams, Steve Greenwald, George Gardner and James Leoni along with Real Asset Fund, owned by Uri Gofman, and Karka Inc., also owned by Uri Gofman. The other 34 defendants were indicted on mortgage fraud-related offenses. 

Five defendants involved in this case were charged in December 2008 with mortgage fraud-related offenses in federal court: Uri Gofman, Paul Lesniak, Gennadiy Simkhovich, David Pirichy and Howard Sieferd, Jr.

The complete list of defendants and charges includes:

Uri Gofman, 36, Beachwood, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 132 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 4x Theft, (F1) ; 6x Theft, (F3) ; 41x Tampering with Records, (F3); 25x Tampering with Records, (F4); 29x Telecommunications Fraud, (F4); 26x Money Laundering, (F3)

Tony Viola, 43, Cleveland, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 36 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 2x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4) ; 3x Tampering with Records, (F3); 4x Tampering with Records, (F4); 3x Receiving Stolen Property, (F4); 12x Receiving Stolen Property, (F5); 10x Money Laundering, (F3)

Igor Gofman, 47, Beachwood, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 4 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 1x Theft, (F1); 1x Tampering with Records, (F3); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Samyel Goldshtein, 51, Highland Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 9 counts: 2x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 3x Tampering with Records, (F3); 3x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Alex Kurlienko, 27, South Euclid, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 8 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 3x Tampering with Records, (F3); 3x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Kevin Landrum, 30, of Solon, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 12 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 2x Theft, (F3); 8x Tampering with Records, (F3); 1x Money Laundering, (F3)

The Real Asset Fund, 2120 Green Rd. South Euclid, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 11 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 4x Theft, (F1); 1x Theft, (F4); 1x Tampering with Records, (F3); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4); 1x Receiving Stolen Property, (F3); 2x Money Laundering, (F3)

Yan Satanovskiy, 61, Lyndhurst, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 2 counts: 1x Theft, (F4); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Irina Satanovskiy, 61, Lyndhurst, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 2 counts: 1x Tampering with Records, (F3); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Ester Simkhovich, 35, Lakewood, New Jersey, Indicted on a total of 7 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 2x Tampering with Records, (F3); 3x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Leonid Simkhovich, 31, Wickliffe, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 6 counts: 3x Theft, (F3); 3x Tampering with Records, (F3)

Gennadiy Simkhovich, 52, Highland Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 30 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 1x Theft, (F3); 2x Theft, (F4); 4x Tampering with Records, (F3); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4); 20x Telecommunications Fraud, (F4); 1x Money Laundering, (F3)

Marina Simkhovich, 47, Highland Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 12 counts: 2x Theft, (F3); 2x Theft, (F4); 5x Tampering with Records, (F3); 3x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Alexander Vinokur, 39, Solon, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 10 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 5x Tampering with Records, (F3); 3x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Eric Gesis, 45, Highland Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 12 counts: 4x Theft, (F3); 6x Tampering with Records, (F4); 2x Telecommunications Fraud, (F4)

Tigran Babloyan, 44, Reminderville, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 2 counts: 1x Theft, (F4); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Karka Inc., 2120 Green Rd. South Euclid, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 3 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 2x Money Laundering, (F3)

James Alexander, 42, Warrensville Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 4 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 3x Tampering with Records, (F3)

Tiffany Alexander, 39, Beachwood, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 2 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 1x Tampering with Records, (F3)

Farah Dailey, 30, Euclid, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 2 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4)

George F. Gardner III, 38, Euclid, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 25 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 1x Theft, (F2); 1x Theft, (F3); 2x Theft, (F4); 4x Tampering with Records, (F3); 11x Tampering with Records, (F4); 5x Money Laundering, (F3)

Donnie Eatmon, 44, Macedonia, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 2 counts: 1x Theft, (F4); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Rochelle Huffman, 35, Cleveland Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 2 counts: 1x Theft, (F4); 1x Tampering with Records, (F3)

Brian P. Jordan, 48, Cleveland, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 7 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 1x Tampering with Records, (F3); 4x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Crystal McCoy, 53, Cleveland, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 4 counts: 1x Theft, (F4); 3x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Maura McKissic, 32, Cleveland Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 10 counts: 5x Theft, (F3); 5x Tampering with Records, (F3)

Steve Greenwald, 43, Solon , Ohio, Indicted on a total of 26 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 1x Theft, (F1); 9x Tampering with Records, (F3); 15x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Zakkiyya Mumin, 32, Warrensville Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 16 counts: 2x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 8x Tampering with Records, (F3); 4x Tampering with Records, (F4); 1x Money Laundering, (F3)

Sulieman Mumin, 30, Warrensville Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 6 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 1x Tampering with Records, (F3); 3x Money Laundering, (F3)

Troy E. Spencer, 47, Cleveland Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 17 counts: 2x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 6x Tampering with Records, (F3); 8x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Shirley Board (Vannerson), 59, Cleveland Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 12 counts: 3x Theft, (F3); 2x Theft, (F4); 1x Tampering with Records, (F3); 6x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Nathan Prusak, 35, Bay Village, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 4 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 2x Tampering with Records, (F3); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Dale M. Adams, 34, Solon, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 24 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 3x Theft, (F2); 2x Theft, (F4); 13x Tampering with Records, (F3); 5x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Miroslav Simkhovich, 35, Willoughby, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 16 counts: 2x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 8x Tampering with Records, (F3); 5x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Ronald Medley, 45, Cleveland, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 2 counts: 1x Theft, (F4); 1x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Darrin Harsley, 39, University Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 11 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 4x Tampering with Records, (F3); 3x Receiving Stolen Property, (F5); 3x Money Laundering, (F3)

Dave Pirichy, 38, Burton, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 29 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 1x Theft, (F2); 2x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 10x Tampering with Records, (F3); 13x Tampering with Records, (F4); 1x Telecommunications Fraud, (F4)

Linas Puskorius, 51, Cleveland, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 7 counts: 1x Tampering with Records, (F3); 3x Tampering with Records, (F4); 2x Receiving Stolen Property, (F5); 1x Telecommunications Fraud, (F4)

Howard Sieferd, 58, Euclid, Indicted on a total of 18 counts: 11x Tampering with Records, (F3); 7x Tampering with Records, (F4)
 
James M. Leoni, 35, Lyndhurst, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 29 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 2x Theft, (F2); 3x Theft, (F3); 13x Tampering with Records, (F3); 10x Tampering with Records, (F4)

Realty Corporation of America, 815 Superior Ave. Cleveland, Indicted on a total of 23 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 3x Receiving Stolen Property, (F4); 13x Receiving Stolen Property, (F5); 6x Money Laundering, (F3)

Tiffeney Dennis, 35, Cleveland Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 31 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); 2x Theft, (F3); 1x Theft, (F4); 6x Tampering with Records, (F3); 3x Tampering with Records, (F4); 5x Receiving Stolen Property; 7x Money Laundering, (F3); 6x Mortgage Broker Act Violation, (F5)

Alicia McKnight, 25, Bedford Hts., Ohio, Indicted on a total of 3 counts: 1x Theft, (F3); 2x Tampering with Records, (F3)

Gregory L. Krainess, 44, Beachwood, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 12 counts: 1x Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, (10 years mandatory); and 11x Tampering with Evidence, (F3)

JN & DH Investments, 3213 Portman Ave., Cleveland, Ohio, Indicted on a total of 3 counts: 3x Money Laundering, (F3).

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason announced the charges.

The indictments are the result of work done by the Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force operating under the authority of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission.

“Mortgage fraud has cost this country billions of dollars and has caused much of the nation’s current economic hardship,” said Attorney General Cordray. “This case clearly demonstrates the value of teamwork and sends the message that if you are engaged in mortgage fraud, we will come after you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

With funding from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, the Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force was formed in December 2007. To date, 289 defendants have been indicted for approximately $111 million in fraudulent loans for 812 houses. Of the 812 houses, 616 fell into foreclosure.

Task Force members include: Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Cleveland Heights Police Department, Solon Police Department, Beachwood Police Department, Pepper Pike Police Department, HUD Inspector General’s Office, Cuyahoga County Recorder, Cuyahoga County Auditor, Cuyahoga County Treasurer, Ohio Department of Commerce-Division of Financial Institutions, F.B.I., U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Postal Inspector.

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Allison Tussey

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6 responses to 45 Indicted in Ohio Mortgage Fraud Case Involving 453 Homes

  1. Ingrid Johnson Student October 16, 2009 at 5:22 am

    Mortgage scam altered our paperwork so we would qualify on 0 down properties in Columbus for 3 homes purchased in 2006. Have list of 50 other students of Ingrid’s that did the same. Renters would not pay rent and management would not be willing to manage. Bank used went immediately belly up then loan passed to current banks after just 1 month. Please write. Houses were purchased at 600 percent of value.

  2. MORTGAGE FRAUD HEADLINES IN THE NEWS!
    Last Thursday morning, as I settled in to my cup of coffee and turned on the TV, I listened to the comments on Senator Ted Kennedy’s passing, the first day of school chatter and then WHAM! MORTGAGE FRAUD INDICTMENTS IN CLEVELAND!
    I woke up very quickly and it had my full attention. This kind of news always gets my attention and it is too few and too far between.
    I was familar with some of the names mentioned. I think there are 45 people
    indicted in this wave. Bridget, my title officer and I just shake our heads.
    We have known for years this was happening. Our customers would want us to do the title work. We would look at the paper work and tell them what they were getting themselves into was a scam and we would have no part of it.
    Within a week or two we would see on the records that another title company had “closed” it. We contacted local authorities to tell then what was happening. It fell on deaf ears!
    I think independent title agents are the “watch dogs ” of the real estate industry. Most of this fraud would not have happened if the mortgage brokers did not own the title agency that looked the other way and closed them. This ownership is not illegal.Law permits them to be in the title business. It’s like hiring the fox to guard the chicken coop!
    COnsumers have the power to choose the title agency to handle their transaction. The role of the title agency is to insure the title and conduct the settlement as a “disinterested 3rd. party”.
    I can’t imagine why consumers would want it any other way.

  3. Another example of the mistake of allowing real estate agents and lenders buy into and control title agency.These filings required the co-operation of atitle agency.Did they own part of the title company involved?

  4. WELL, SOMEONE IS DOING SOMETHING!! CITI FRAUD INVESTIGATION DOES NOT THINK THAT ONE AND A HALF MILLION FRAUD IS A BIG DEAL.I INVITE HARRIS COUNTY DA TO TAKE A LOOK AT PINE VILLAGE NORTH TOWN HOMES LOCATED AT THE EAST TEX FREEWAY AND ALDINE MAIL RT.BRADY BANK OF BRADY TEXAS OWES $294,304.OO IN PAST DUE ASSESSMENTS!!! TOTAL PAST DUE FOR THE ASSOCIATION IS $708,965.00. ALL BANKS THAT I INFORMED OF THE FALSE VALUES TOOK NO INTEREST IN KNOWING THE TRUTH. OK FOLKS, YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN CAN PICK UP THE TAB.

  5. voyageHomeLoansCA August 26, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    What a win for the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission. As the dust settles from the mortgage meltdown many more cases like this are sure to be exposed. Mortgage lenders, mortgage brokers, and mortgage borrowers have both been charged in cases all over the country. The people truly hurt in all of this turmoil are the homeowners who paid their mortgage loans on time, and didn’t take out loans they couldn’t afford. Their home values will likely suffer for who knows how long with a huge inventory of short sales, and foreclosed homes listed for sale in their neighborhood in many cases under market value.

    Jason Estes
    Voyage Home Loans

  6. ahhhh hahahha morons you deserve it like those homestar morons

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