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Peter Cash Doye, 43, San Diego, California, a financial executive was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for his role as the “driving force” in a massive real estate loan scheme in which he and his co-conspirators stole nearly $50 million dollars from San Diego residents and lenders.

His co-defendant, Raquel Reid, 40, San Diego, California, a notary public and real estate broker, was previously sentenced to 65 months for her role in the fraud. The court also ordered Doye and Reid to pay more than $43 million in restitution to the victims.

According to the indictment and the evidence introduced at trial, the defendants defrauded lenders into making enormous loans against four multi-million dollar mansions in La Jolla and Del Mar, California then used forged documents to make it appear that the loans had been paid off, thereby enabling them to secure additional loans from new lenders who believed the mansions were owned “free and clear.”

Doye, a senior executive at the real estate investment firms Conix, Inc. and Variant Commercial Real Estate (“VCRE”), negotiated the financing from unsuspecting lenders and investors based on a host of lies about the collateral used to secure the loans.  To pull off the scam, Doye, Reid, and their co-conspirators created forged real estate lien “releases” and recorded fraudulent records at the San Diego County Recorder’s Office, complicating the chain of title for these homes.  Reid notarized the forged documents, helping to make the fraudulent paperwork appear authentic.

Doye’s business partner, Courtland Gettel,43, Coranado, California and Arizona attorney Jeffrey Greenberg, 67, Tucson, Arizona, who testified at the trial on behalf of the government, previously pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme and are serving sentences of 135 and 51 months, respectively. Gettel and Greenberg were also ordered to pay more than $43 million in restitution to victims, and to forfeit the proceeds of the crime.  Gettel was the owner of Conix and VCRE, which refurbished single-family homes, purchased distressed debt, and purchased and refurbished commercial real estate projects.

During trial, the government proved that Gettel, Greenberg, and Doye acquired the high-end homes in La Jolla and Del Mar, California by claiming they would be used as luxury rentals and investment properties, although in fact, Gettel and Doye lived in the properties along with their families. When they needed money to fund other business deals, Gettel and Doye began negotiating with new lenders, pretending that the first loans never existed or had already been paid off.  Greenberg admitted that he used his expertise as a lawyer to generate and record fraudulent records, making it appear that prior loans were paid off and helping to close the fraudulent deals.

In late 2014, the lenders began to uncover the fraud and learn that their secured interests in the properties were worthless.  In response to questions from these lenders, Doye, Reid and Gettel denied knowing anything about the fraudulent loans, and created yet more fraudulent documents to cover their tracks. For example, Reid destroyed her notary book and cut up her notary stamp, and then falsely reported to the California Secretary of State that her book had been lost.

This crime was a colossal $50 million swindle by a greedy, brazen thief who squandered the stolen money on lavish parties in Las Vegas, penthouse apartments, private jets and abundant drug use,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “The defendant’s extravagant lifestyle was funded by the hardships of his victims, who suffered health problems, emotional stress, financial uncertainty and strain on relationships. This sentence underscores the significant harm victims to and the integrity of our financial system, and is a testament to the hard work of FBI agents and prosecutors Emily Allen and Andrew Young.”

Today, final justice has been served in this multi-million dollar loan fraud scheme. All four defendants, including Doye, who was sentenced to 15 years in custody today, are no longer able to perpetrate their deceit and lies to fulfill their personal greed,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Suzanne Turner.   “The FBI remains committed to pursuing fraud schemes that erode the integrity of our financial system.”

During the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes described the defendant as “cold blooded” and the “driving force” behind an “overwhelmingly selfish act” that was motivated by “pure unmitigated greed.” He scolded the defendant for having a “callous attitude” toward his victims, and remarked about his testimony during trial. “After you said your name, I’m hard-pressed to remember anything you said that was truthful,” Judge Hayes said.

The pair was indicted on September 19, 2017 on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft.  Reid was also charged with lying to a federal agent.  On November 20, 2018, after a two-week trial, a jury returned a guilty verdict on all charges against both defendants.

 

Veronica Washington was charged by information in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

According to the information, Washinton purchased residential real estate at 123 57th Street SE, Washington D.C. on February 20, 2008 and obtained two mortgage loans for approximately $470,000 total from SunTrust Mortgage. By 2009, she had failed to maintain timely mortgage payments and, in February 2010, she entered into a HAMP trial period plan.  By May 2010, she was again behind on her mortgage payments and, on May 7, 2010, a Notice of Foreclosure was filed with the DC Recorder of Deeds.  In April 2013, SunTrust Mortgage began the process of foreclosure.

Sometime before October 2, 2013, according to the information, two fake Certificates of Satisfaction of the mortgages were recorded which represented SunTrust had been paid and that Washington owned the property “free and clear.” The satisfactions contains forged signatures of someone purporting to be an individual authorized to sign for SunTrust Mortgage.

On or about October 11, 2013, Washington listed the property for sale for $425,000 – even though she owed in excess of $470,000 on the two SunTrust mortgages.  On or about November 10, 2013, Washington agreed to sell the property to a buyer for $379,000.  After signing documents to complete the sale in December 2013, the title company wired Washington the sales proceeds of over $337,000.

The charges to which Washington pled guilty carry a maximum possible sentence of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

 

 

Mazen Alzoubi, real estate investor, 32, Rancho Cucamonga, California, pled guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and identity theft, admitting that he orchestrated a scheme to steal title to Southern California homes and then sell the properties to unsuspecting buyers before the true owners could put a stop to the sale.

Alzoubi admitted that from May 2012 through August 2014, he and several co-conspirators fraudulently sold or attempted to sell at least 15 homes worth more than $3.6 million. On at least ten occasions, Alzoubi admitted, he was successful—earning illicit proceeds of nearly $2.2 million, which he then laundered and diverted to overseas bank accounts to ensure that the fraudulently-obtained proceeds could never be recovered. Continue Reading…

Kurt Sanborn, 48, formerly of Dracut, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

In May 2003, Sanborn used a private $500,000 loan to buy a home in Manchester, New Hampshire.  In exchange, the private lenders received a first mortgage on the Manchester property which was recorded at the Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, Registry of Deeds.

In October 2003, Sanborn asked a mortgage company for a $685,000 loan to buy a second home in Gilford, New Hampshire.  The mortgage company agreed to finance the transaction if it received first mortgages on the Manchester and Gilford properties.  To deceive the mortgage company, Sanborn caused a mortgage discharge that contained the private lenders’ forged signatures to be filed with the Hillsborough County Registry of Deeds.  Sanborn’s conduct involving interstate wire communication and documents that were delivered by the U.S. Postal Service as part of the fraud served as the basis for wire and mail fraud charges.

Sanborn was also charged with bank fraud based on his conduct, in February 2004, in acquiring a $150,000 loan from a federally insured bank in exchange for a second mortgage on the Manchester property.  Sanborn concealed from the bank the private lenders’ mortgage on the Manchester property.

In October 2004, Sanborn sold the Manchester property without disclosing the private lenders’ mortgage on the property to the new owners.  He then used the proceeds of the sale to make a $185,000 payment to the mortgage company and to fully repay the $150,000 loan from the federally insured bank.

Sanborn pleaded guilty to the charges in May 2014.

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney Donald Feith. The case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service.  It was prosecuted by AUSA Robert Kinsella.

John Michael DiChiara, 57, Nevada City, California; James C. Castle, 51, formerly of Santa Rosa, California; Remus A. Kirkpatrick, 58, formerly of Oceanside, California; George B. Larsen, 54, formerly of San Rafael, California; Laura Pezzi, 59, Roseville, California; Larry Todt, 63, formerly of Malibu, California; and Michael Romano, 68, Benicia, California, were charged by a federal grand jury in a 42-count indictment, with conspiracy, bank fraud, false making of documents, and money laundering in connection with a mortgage elimination scheme. Tisha Trites, 49, San Diego, California and Todd Smith, 44, San Diego, California, pleaded guilty to related charges before U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on September 4, 2015.

DiChiara was arrested in Cool, California. Pezzi and Romano were arrested at their homes. The other four defendants listed in the indictment have yet to be arrested. Continue Reading…