Ben Leske, 40, Puyallup, Washington, who worked as a loan officer for PC Bank Home Loans, a division of Pierce Commercial Bank, between 2005 and 2008 was sentenced to 30 days of home detention, 100 hours of community service, two years of supervised release and more than $131,000 in restitution. Leske pleaded guilty in May 2017, to making false statements on loan applications.

According to records in the case, between 2004 and 2008, the architect of the fraud, Shawn Portmann, and other members of the conspiracy submitted false documents within various loan documents and applications.  They falsified information about the borrowers’ qualifications as well as their intention to reside in the homes being financed.  A review of a sample of conventional and HUD loans showed that members of the conspiracy closed over 300 loans with false and fraudulent documents and information.  More than half of this sample of loans have defaulted or otherwise caused loss, causing an estimated loss of more than $10 million to Pierce Commercial Bank, secondary investors and HUD/FHA.  Court records detail multiple false statements included in loan documents regarding an applicant’s employment, income, and intention to reside in the property. 

Pierce Commercial Bank was closed by regulators in November 2010.  Pierce Commercial Bank received $6.8 million from Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in January 2009.  This money was never repaid.

Shawn Portmann and nine other defendants were prosecuted and sentenced between 2011 and 2013, with sentences ranging from probation to the ten-year prison sentence for Portmann.  Five additional conspirators were charged in 2017.  In addition to Leske, four others sentenced in the 2017 case include: Sam Tuttle, 54, Tacoma, Washington, a Vice-President of PC Bank Home Loans was sentenced to three years of supervised release; Angela Crozier, 44, Olympia, Washington, a loan processor was sentenced to one year of supervised release; Ed Rounds, 53, Puyallup, Washington, a loan officer was sentenced to two years of supervised release and Craig Meyer, 55, Dickenson, Texas, a Vice President and loan officer was sentenced to one year of supervised release.

Those whose crimes deepened the damage from the 2008 financial crisis deserve to be punished just like any other criminal”, said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes in announcing the sentence.  “This defendant and 14 other well-paid bank employees from loan officers to bank vice presidents forged documents and made false statements to close loans they knew were not sound.  The result was the collapse of Pierce Commercial Bank and the expenditure of nearly $7 million of taxpayer funds to address the financial mess these defendants left behind.”

With the sentencing of mortgage banker Ben Leske, 15 bank employees have now faced justice for a conspiracy that directly contributed to Pierce Commercial Bank’s failure and the loss of $6.8 million in TARP bailout funds,” said Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Christy Goldsmith Romero. “Ringleader Shawn Portmann, who was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his crimes, created a culture at PC Bank Home Loans, Pierce Commercial Bank’s mortgage lending office, where all loans applications were expected to approved, regardless of the applier’s ability to repay.  Under this ‘close every loan’ culture, he and his co-conspirators submitted false and fraudulent documents showing borrowers who appeared qualified for mortgages when in fact they were not. As a result, PC Bank Home Loans greatly expanded the residential mortgage lending operations of Pierce Commercial Bank prior to the financial crisis from no more than $3.9 million a month to nearly $500 million a year. I thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their commitment to fighting fraud related to TARP.”

Leske was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle. The case was investigated by the FBI, the HUD Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), Internal Revenue Service Office of Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Office of Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) and the United States Postal Inspection Service.  

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian Werner and Special Assistant United States Attorney Hugo Torres.  Mr. Torres is a King County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney specially designated to prosecute mortgage fraud in federal court.

Bruce Kevin Hawkins, 52, Desoto, Texas, was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison and pay $219,109 in restitution for his role in a foreclosure rescue scheme that exploited vulnerable homeowners facing foreclosure.

Hawkins pleaded guilty in June 2017 to one count of mail fraud.  He has been in custody since the time of his arrest in January 2017.

A federal grand jury in Dallas returned an indictment in December 2016 charging Hawkins and three others with felony offenses stemming from a “foreclosure rescue scheme” they ran from approximately February 2012 through January 2013.  Richard Bruce Stevens, 51, San Antonio, Texas, and Christina Renee Caveny, 37, Dallas, Texas, also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced later this year.  Mark Demetri Stein, 36, Carrollton, Texas, is awaiting trial.

According to documents filed in the case, Stein operated Real Estate Solutions, Stevens used Texas Real Estate Services, and Hawkins formed ERealty Mortgage Group, LLC, as foreclosure rescue companies.  The conspirators used third parties to contact homeowners and offer them an opportunity to get out of their present home loans and receive a new home loan with a reduced interest payment and reduced monthly payment.  Hawkins and other conspirators falsely represented to homeowners that they had “investors” standing by who were ready to quickly purchase the homeowner’s present loan from the lender holding the current mortgage.  They also falsely represented that they would use investors to purchase the homeowner’s loan from the original lender at a greatly reduced price through a “short sale” process.

Furthermore, Hawkins and other conspirators falsely represented to the homeowners that the homeowners had the legal authority to transfer their homeowner’s deed to the defendants.

As part of the scheme, the conspirators fraudulently required homeowners to start making all future loan payments to them based on fraudulent so-called “loans,” and they also told homeowners to ignore late payment notices sent by lenders.  As part of the scheme, the conspirators conducted a fraudulent “closing” for each homeowner where they caused the homeowner to pay them a large down payment on the new “loan,” and they also had the homeowner sign fraudulent documents, such as a promissory note, deed of trust, special warranty deed, and/or a so-called “land trust.”

Further, according to plea documents, the conspirators falsely represented to homeowners that the conspirators could “sell” their property back to the homeowner with a new loan, when the conspirators well knew they did not legally own the property.  The conspirators also told homeowners to ignore notices of nonpayment from their present lender as they continued to unlawfully collect monthly so called “mortgage payments” from homeowners.  In fact, conspirators instructed several homeowners to file for bankruptcy but to not follow up with the bankruptcy process as an additional means to delay foreclosure and conceal the conspirators’ criminal conduct.  Conspirators concealed that all down payment and monthly mortgage payments fraudulently collected from homeowners was spent for their own personal benefit.

The defendants recruited at least 70 distressed and vulnerable homeowners who were facing the imminent threat of foreclosure on their homes and fraudulently collected a total of at least $242,000 from them.

Hawkins was sentenced before U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey and the sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas

The Dallas FBI investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jarvis prosecuted.

Celia Nipper, aka Celia Arrand, 61, Dublin, California pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud, bank fraud, and filing false tax returns in connection with a scheme to embezzle funds from a real estate technology company.

Nipper admitted in the plea agreement that in June of 2008, on two separate occasions she overstated her income in connection with fraudulent mortgage loan applications.

According to the plea agreement, Nipper admitted that while employed as an office manager, she used her position of financial control at a technology company to redirect funds intended for her employer to accounts that she controlled.  According to the plea agreement, from 2005 to 2011, while Nipper managed her company’s accounts payable and accounts receivable, invoicing, and bill paying she opened bank accounts in the name of her employer without disclosing the existence of the accounts.  She then directed customer payments to those accounts.  Nipper also admitted as part of the plea agreement that she misappropriated funds from her employer’s legitimate corporate bank accounts.  Nipper also admitted she used money belonging to her employer to pay for her own personal expenses and deposited employer funds into her personal bank accounts.  Nipper further acknowledged that her scheme defrauded the company of more than $2 million.

Further, nipper admitted that she filed false U.S. Income Tax Returns for the tax years 2009, 2010, and 2011.  In each case, she understated her income, resulting in a failure to report more than $1 million and a tax loss to the United States of at least $290,000.

On April 7, 2016, a federal grand jury indicted Nipper by superseding indictment, charging her with three counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343; two counts of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(2); and three counts of filing a false tax return, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1).  Pursuant to the plea agreement, Nipper pleaded guilty to all seven counts.

Judge Gilliam has scheduled Nipper’s sentencing for February 5, 2018.    The maximum statutory penalties for wire fraud and bank fraud is 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years of supervised release.  The maximum statutory penalty for filing a false tax return is 3 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 1 year of supervised release.  Additional fines, forfeitures, and special assessments also may be imposed.

The plea was announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.  The plea was accepted by the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., U.S. District Judge.  The prosecution was the result of an investigation by the FBI and IRS, Criminal Investigation.

Sean David Morton, 59, Hermosa, Beach, California was sentenced to six years in federal prison and his wife, Melissa Ann Morton, 51, Hermosa Beach, California, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for using bogus financial instruments in an attempt to pay off debt and for filing fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service that sought millions of dollars in refunds.  The Mortons were each ordered to pay $480,322 in restitution to the IRS.

Sean Morton’s sentencing follows a four-day trial in April in which he was found guilty by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts of filing false claims against the United States, and 26 counts of passing false or fictitious financial instruments. Sean Morton was originally scheduled to be sentenced in June, but he failed to appear for that hearing and was a fugitive for over two months. Melissa Morton was convicted of conspiracy, two counts filing false claims and 25 counts of passing false or fictitious financial instruments

The Mortons operated a “redemption” scheme, which is the most common scheme used across the nation by tax defiers and “sovereign citizens.” Proponents of this scheme falsely claim that the United States government controls bank accounts – often referred to as “U.S. Treasury Direct Accounts” – for U.S. citizens that can be accessed by submitting paperwork with state and federal authorities. Individuals promoting this scam frequently cite bogus legal theories and may refer to the scheme as “Redemption” or “Strawman.” This scheme, which repeatedly has been rejected by courts, predominately uses fraudulent financial documents that appear to be legitimate.

The Mortons sold the bond scheme to others who were in debt to governmental organizations, such as the IRS and the State of California, and private bank institutions for mortgage or credit card debt. The Mortons charged their clients thousands of dollars to prepare and file useless UCC-1 documents declaring their clients’ “strawman” status, and to prepare and send false bonds to the government or banks which purported to pay off the clients’ debt. “The total amounts of the check/bonds [the Mortons] made and passed are astronomical – the principal amounts of said instruments range from $50,000 to $10 million,” according to court documents.

In sentencing briefs filed with the court, prosecutors said Sean Morton “touted he was a ‘paper terrorist’ when giving seminars regarding his schemes,” and he harassed and burdened the “courts with mountains of frivolous paperwork…in an effort to degrade the court system over time and make it more difficult to efficiently resolve cases, especially tax cases.”

The evidence presented at trial also showed that the Mortons filed income tax returns with the IRS that falsely claimed they had income from various banking institutions reported on Forms 1099-OID. As part of the scheme, the Mortons falsely reported large withholdings and claimed they were owed refunds from the IRS.

As a result of the scheme, the IRS erroneously issued a refund of $480,322.55 to Sean Morton for a 2008 income tax return. On the same day the refund was deposited into the Mortons’ joint bank account, the couple took immediate steps to conceal the money, which included opening two new accounts, transferring over $360,000 to the two new accounts, and withdrawing $70,000 in cash.

When the IRS took steps to collect the erroneous refund, the Mortons began a campaign to thwart the government’s collection efforts. Specifically, when the IRS placed a levy on the couple’s joint bank account, the couple repeatedly sent letters to the IRS that falsely claimed it was Melissa Morton’s sole and separate account.

When the IRS attempted to collect the erroneous refund from the Mortons, the Mortons presented to the IRS various “coupons” and “bonds” that purported to pay off their debt with the IRS. The Mortons created and submitted these bogus documents to the IRS, instructing the agency to draw upon funds with the United States Treasury to satisfy their debt.

While sentencing Sean Morton, Judge Wilson said his conduct “caused a serious disruption” to the tax system and “caused others to engage in fraudulent conduct.”

“The scheme, while outrageous, was also calculated,” Judge Wilson said.

Sean Morton was originally scheduled to be sentenced on June 19, but he failed to appear in court and was a fugitive for 61 days. During that time, Sean Morton “flagrantly flouted the law, appeared on social media, his radio program, and YouTube to brag about his status as a fugitive,” according to court papers filed by prosecutors. Soon after her husband fled, Melissa Morton was ordered not to have any contact with her husband.

The Mortons were arrested on August 21, 2017 while observing the solar eclipse poolside at a hotel in Desert Hot Springs. The following day, a United States Magistrate Judge found that they had violated the terms of their release on bond and ordered them detained.

This is a case where the defendants clearly engaged in a systematic effort to impede the tax system, undermine the efforts of prosecutors, and, in the case of Sean Morton, avoid sentencing after being convicted by a jury of his peers,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown. “This case sends a clear message that we will spare no effort to preserve the integrity of this nation’s institutions. The lengthy sentences also demonstrate that illegal efforts to use bogus legal theories in an effort to defraud fellow taxpayers will not be tolerated.”

The Mortons’ blatant disrespect for the law will now cost them years of valuable freedom,” stated IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge R. Damon Rowe. “Today’s sentencing shows how seriously the courts take those individuals who attempt to lead others down a perilous financial and legal path, in addition to devising illegal tax schemes to obtain refunds to which they are not entitled.”

Morton was sentenced by and by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson.

The investigation of the Mortons was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Valerie Makarewicz and James C. Hughes of the Tax Division.

Thomas Scott Brown, 47, Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to three years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for his role in a bank fraud scheme that resulted in losses of approximately $2.7 million. Brown pled guilty to bank fraud and false statements to a financial institution on June 9, 2017. According to court documents, from approximately 2006 through 2007, Brown purchased properties for buyers with his own money and then directed those individuals to apply for home equity loans with Navy Federal Credit Union, claiming that they owned the properties free and clear of any liens when, in fact, they still owed Brown for the properties. In applying for these home equity loans, Brown instructed the buyers to submit false documentation to the bank, including fraudulent Housing and Urban Development Settlement Statements and false membership applications. Brown further ordered these individuals to pay him from the proceeds of the home equity loans.

In most instances, the homes went into foreclosure after the bank approved the loans. In total, 51 properties Brown sold eventually went into foreclosure, causing Navy Federal Credit Union losses of $2.7 million.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamar K. Walker prosecuted the case.

Francisco Javier Gonzalez, a/k/a “Javier Gonzalez,” 45, Duncanville, Texas, vice-president of Dallas County Community Action Committee, Inc., pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud

According to documents filed in the case, the DCCAC was a non-profit entity, accredited by HUD between October 1990 and mid- February 2016, to provide housing counseling. It was created in 1965 by the Dallas Commissioners Court to support the efforts of the Johnson administration to combat poverty. Gonzalez served as DCCAC’s Vice President and one of the directors. Gonzalez also leased space in the DCCAC offices for another entity, known as Residential Counseling FJ LLC.

According to the charging documents filed in the case, between 2009 through 2016 Gonzalez through his work at DCCAC, defrauded homeowners under the guise that he was assisting them with mortgage assistance. Gonzalez specifically sought out victims who were facing financial difficulty and who had contacted the DCCAC seeking mortgage loan and foreclosure prevention assistance. He also identified victims facing such financial distress by subscribing to the Foreclosure Listing Service, a/k/a Roddy List, which offers listings of foreclosure and pre-foreclosure homes, by county, through a review of public records. Once identified, Gonzalez would meet with these victims in the DCCAC offices and in the victims’ homes. He would explain a plan to reduce the victim’s mortgage payment and to prevent foreclosure; the plan often included a loan modification application. These applications often contained information that had been falsified by Gonzalez and were otherwise incomplete.

According to plea documents, on February 28, 2013, Gonzalez prepared and submitted a false and fraudulent Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) application to a bank in an effort to delay foreclosure and extract additional funds from victims. As a result of Gonzalez’s scheme to defraud homeowners, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and certain banks suffered a loss of $611,740.55.

Gonzalez faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. Restitution could also be ordered. He has been in custody since the time of his arrest in October 2016.

U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas announced the plea. HUD Office of Inspector General, FHFA Office of Inspector General, and the USPIS investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney P.J. Meitl is in charge of the prosecution.

The United States filed a civil complaint in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, against Paul Mangione, former Deutsche Bank head of subprime trading. In its complaint, the United States alleges that Mangione engaged in a fraudulent scheme to misrepresent the characteristics of loans backing two residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) that Deutsche Bank sold to investors that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. The suit was brought pursuant to the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) and seeks an appropriate civil penalty.

As alleged in the complaint, Mangione engaged in a fraudulent scheme to sell ACE 2007-HE4 (HE4) — a $ 1 billion security — and ACE 2007-HE5 (HE5) — a $400 million security — by misleading investors about the quality of the loans backing the securitizations. The complaint further alleges that Mangione also misled investors about the origination practices of Deutsche Bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary, DB Home Lending LLC (DB Home) (f/k/a Chapel Funding LLC), which was the primary originator of loans included in the deals. Mangione approved offering documents for HE4 and HE5 even though he knew they misrepresented key characteristics of the loans, including compliance with lending guidelines, borrowers’ ability to pay, borrowers’ fraud and appraisal accuracy.

The HE4 and HE5 offering documents also falsely represented that DB Home had “developed internal underwriting guidelines that it believe[d] generated quality loans” and that DB Home had instituted a quality control process that “monitor[ed] loan production with the overall goal of improving the quality of loan production,” among numerous other representations designed to instill in investors trust in DB Home’s underwriting processes. As alleged in the complaint, Mangione knew that these statements were false.

The defendant fraudulently induced investors, including pension plans, religious organizations, financial institutions and government-sponsored entities, to name only a few, to invest nearly a billion and a half dollars in HE4 and HE5 RMBS, and caused them to suffer extraordinary losses as a result,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde for the Eastern District of New York. “We will hold accountable those who seek to deceive the investing public through fraud and misrepresentation.”

“The government’s complaint alleges that Mr. Mangione knew that certain of Deutsche Bank’s RMBS contained unsound mortgages that did not meet the credit or appraisal standards that the bank represented,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “By allegedly misleading investors about the riskiness of these securities, Mr. Mangione prioritized his and his employer’s bottom line over principles of honesty and fair dealing. The Department of Justice will continue to pursue those who engage in fraud as a way to conduct business.”

As alleged in today’s filing, this individual knowingly took steps during the lead up to the financial crisis to sell defective mortgage loans while hiding the poor quality of the loans from investors,” said Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Rene Febles for the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of the Inspector General. “This conduct was deliberately fraudulent and resulted in significant losses for the investors. We are committed to working with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York to hold accountable those who engaged in fraud in the secondary market for mortgages.”

In January 2017, the Department of Justice settled a related RMBS matter with Deutsche Bank.

The United States’ case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edward K. Newman and Ryan M. Wilson. Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde and Acting Assistant Attorney General Readler thanked the Office of the Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Administration for its assistance in conducting the investigation in this matter.

Zaki M. Bey, 39, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Bey previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit loan and bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to court documents, Bey conspired with others to prepare and submit fraudulent mortgage applications to banks and lending institutions.  In 2007 and 2008, Bey successfully secured more than $2 million in residential loans on at least thirteen properties located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and in New Jersey.  Bey and others created fraudulent loan applications on behalf of straw buyers that contained materially false information as to the straw buyers’ income, assets, and intent to occupy the residences.  Bey also furnished fraudulent records such as payroll account documents, paystubs, and financial statements to defraud financial institutions and lenders.  Bey’s company at the time, Natural Home Builders, was able to receive a payout for purported construction expenses ranging from $17,864.26 to $60,000 at the closing of each settlement.  Bey was not completing any construction on these properties, and obtained total settlement proceeds for construction costs of $435,074.26.

In late 2010 and early 2011, Bey filed fraudulent personal income tax returns for tax years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.  Bey filed these tax returns claiming false tax withholding payments and false Forms 1099-OID (“Original Issue Discount”) income for his company, Natural Home Builders.  Bey attempted to receive total tax refunds from the IRS in the amount of $1,141,677.  Bey was only successful in receiving $148,296 from the IRS based on the fraudulent 2009 tax return he submitted.   After assessed a tax deficiency by the IRS, Bey mailed checks to the IRS from a closed bank account in an attempt to repay the fraudulent tax refund.

Beginning in 2010 to 2013, Bey engaged in a wire fraud conspiracy involving the submission of fraudulent auto loan applications.  Bey furnished fraudulent records such as payroll account documents, paystubs and financial statements to defraud automobile dealerships located in Philadelphia and New Jersey.  The false loan applications and fraudulent records caused the automobile dealerships to electronically submit false information to financial institutions and lenders.  Through the use of straw buyers, Bey was able to obtain at least 7 automobiles.

In addition to Bey’s 60 month prison sentence, he will also be required to serve 3 years’ supervised release and pay back $705,528.22 in restitution to multiple financial institutions and the Internal Revenue Service.

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Louis D. Lappen.  The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.  It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James Pavlock.

Daphne Iatridis, 59, and her husband, Arthur Telles, 59, were each sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to forfeit 26 fraudulently purchased properties to the United States. Both had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and tax evasion. The couple’s sons, Brendyn Iatridis and Spenser Iatridis, also pleaded guilty to related crimes and were sentenced to 10 months in prison and probation, respectively.

Between 2008 and 2012, the defendants engaged in an elaborate scheme to obtain more than 30 houses from the Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”). Among other things, they stole others’ identities, used bogus trusts to buy the properties, and fraudulently notarized documents to facilitate the improper purchases. In addition, from at least 2010 through 2015, the defendants failed to pay taxes on their rental income from the fraudulently purchased properties.

Real estate professionals who lie and forge documents are a scourge to the industry,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange. “Our office places a high priority on investigating and prosecuting real estate fraud, and we hope that the lengthy sentences imposed in this case will send a strong message that this type of dishonesty and misconduct will be punished severely.”

This case epitomized the greed that erodes confidence in the Realtor/Mortgage industry,” said Michael DeLeon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Phoenix Division. “I am pleased the defendants are now being held accountable for their crimes and that the majority of the fraudulently obtained properties will be forfeited.”

Senior U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake handed down the sentences.  The investigation was conducted by the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Kevin M. Rapp and M. Bridget Minder, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

Hooshang Noori, a loan broker who operated Finance for Americans, Corp, doing business as Pacific Realty, Lake Forest, California, was indicted on one count of wire fraud in the Central District of California.

According to the indictment, Noori submitted loan applications to Lone Oak Fund LLC, on behalf of his purported client M.G. and M.G.’s company, Noble Investments, LLC, to borrow $4 million for the purpose of buying commercial property in Los Angeles, California to be secured by a first deed of trust on a residence owned by M.G.  Noori, or a co-scheme, purporting to be M.G., directed the escrow company to distribute the loan funds to Noori’s company.  After escrow company representatives informed Noori that the funds could only be distributed to Noble Investments, Noori registered  “Noble Investments LLC” in Delaware and opened an account in the company’s name which he solely controlled.  Escrow was then directed to distribute loan funds to this account.

The funds were used to purchase a Mercedes Benz, pay off the lien on Noori’s residence, pay business expenses, among other things, and $3.6 million of the funds were transferred to a Emirates NBD bank account in the name of Four Directions Electronics, LLC.