ACTOR TOMMY LISTER CHARGED WITH MORTGAGE FRAUD AND AGREES TO PLEAD GUILTY
On Aug 31, Tommy Lister, an actor who has appeared in approximately 100 movies, was charged in federal court with conspiring to commit mortgage fraud in a scheme that led to $3.8 million in losses. Lister, who is also known as “Tiny” and “Zeus,” was charged in a criminal information with one count of conspiracy.
A second person involved in the scheme—Arcelia Chavez, a self-employed certified tax preparer—was also charged with conspiracy.
Both Lister and Chavez agreed to plead guilty to the conspiracy charges.
The scheme ran from November 2005 through June 2007 and allegedly involved Lister, Chavez and several other individuals, including: Sami Sager Sweiss, a former mortgage loan officer; Jason Patterson, a real estate agent; “J.R.”, formerly a manager of a Washington Mutual branch (and only identified by his or her initials by the U.S Attorney’s office); and Wanda Tenny, a former escrow officer.
Lister conspired with these individuals to fraudulently acquire title to four residential properties he could not afford. With the help of these individuals and others, Lister obtained mortgages for the four properties through fraudulent means, including submitting mortgage applications that included inflated income and asset amounts; fabricating bank statements and falsifying other documents to substantiate the fraudulent statements in the loan applications; and falsifying escrow records to deceive lenders into believing Lister had made required down payments.
In addition to fraudulently obtaining the mortgages, Lister and his co-conspirators concealed from lenders the fact that he would receive kickbacks from sellers after the real estate deals closed.
Relying on the fraudulent applications and documents, lenders issued mortgages totaling $5.7 million. Lister subsequently defaulted on the four mortgages, causing those lenders and their successors to lose approximately $2.6 million.
After acquiring title to the four residential properties, Lister obtained fraudulent home equity lines of credit on each of the four properties. Lister drew down a total of $1,146,000 in cash from the four HELOCs but did not pay back any of the principal.
Lister also admitted in his plea agreement that Chavez aided and abetted him in obtaining one of the fraudulent mortgages and a fraudulent HELOC by preparing a false CPA letter, as well as fabricating W-2s and a pay stub. The false CPA letter stated that Chavez had prepared Lister’s tax returns. Chavez separately admitted in her plea agreement that she prepared the false and fictitious documents, actions that caused lenders to lose approximately $1.1 million.
The charge of conspiracy carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. On July 30, Sweiss pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count before United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer. As part of his guilty plea, Sweiss admitted that he conspired with Lister, Patterson, Tenney, and Chavez to commit mortgage fraud. Sweiss is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, 2013. (usattycacd83112)
Note that the federal prosecutors are still going back to 2005! That is seven years ago. As I have said many times in the e alert, the government has 10 years to prosecute form the time the last act was committed on the loan. This is when the broker receives the commission or when FHA receives the MI whichever is later.
CALIFORNIA MAN GETS 10 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR MORTGAGE FRAUD
On Aug. 27, Henrik Sardariani was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for orchestrating a loan fraud scheme that netted him and his associates well over $5 million in less than eight months. He was sentenced by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who also ordered the defendant to pay $5.4 million in restitution to his victims and a $100,000 criminal fine.
Sardariani previously admitted that he had defrauded private money lenders by falsely assuring them that the loans they were making were safe when, in fact, he had no intention of paying the loans back and did not own the properties he had pledged as collateral. In determining the sentence, Judge Phillips noted the complexity of Sardariani’s criminal conduct, which included creating false real estate documents with cut-and-paste notarizations and falsifying government records to hide problems in Sardariani’s background that would have raised red flags for the lenders. A victim who spoke at the sentencing hearing summed up Sardariani’s crimes as robberies with fake documents instead of a gun.
Henrik Sardariani has been in custody since Dec. 21, 2010, when he and his brother, Hamlet, were arrested. Hamlet Sardariani pleaded guilty in June 2012.
Henrik Sardariani admitted that he falsified numerous documents to obtain more than $5 million in loans. To obtain one of the loans, Sardariani fraudulently claimed to be the president of the company that actually owned a property used as collateral, and he created false corporate records to maintain that pretense. Sardariani also admitted that he had created fraudulent property records to make it appear to the lenders that prior loans secured by the properties had been paid off and that, therefore, the new loans being made by the victim lenders were fully secured. The fraudulent reconveyances bore forged and fraudulent signatures of notaries public and fraudulent stamps of the notaries public.
Sardariani also admitted that in relation to another loan, he falsely told the lender that the loan was needed only briefly to extend a pre-existing escrow related to the purchase of a hospital and would be returned to the victim-lender at the close of the pre-existing escrow less than one month later. In fact, as Sardariani admitted, he did not intend to use the loan proceeds in connection with the purchase of a hospital, nor did he intend to leave the money untouched in the escrow account. Sardariani used the loan proceeds to place bets 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, who was also charged in the case, pleaded guilty to conspiracy on Nov. 30, 2011. Sardariani’s gambling partner Christopher Woods, who was charged with money launderig in a related case, has also pleaded guilty. (usattycdca82812)