According to court evidence, Hoda Samuel owned and operated the brokerage firm Liberty Real Estate & Investment Co. as well as Liberty Mortgage Company. Between April 5, 2006 and Feb. 26, 2007, the government presented evidence that the defendant committed 30 fraudulent sales transactions.
Samuel was the real estate agent on behalf of the buyer in 29 of the home sales. Also, in at least 15, she represented the seller too, court statements revealed.
Each transaction involved false statements on loan applications in order for unqualified buyers to be able to obtain a mortgage loan. This included inputting inaccurate information regarding the borrower’s income, employment and rental history.
Additionally, false documents were created and submitted to lenders to support these lies. Individuals who worked at the brokerage firm who answered the lenders calls were paid to affirm the fraudulent loan applications.
All the properties involved in these transactions ended up going into foreclosure, the DOJ said.
During the scam, Samuel not only made up the borrower’s ability to repay the loans, but fabricated the value of the collateral securing the loans. Fraudulent purchase prices, which often exceeded the actual asking prices by $15,000 to $40,000, were put into contracts that included repairs and costs for disability access modifications.
At times, the DOJ stated the buyers’ children were named as building contractors so the money could be funneled back to the buyers.
Meanwhile, the remodeling was rarely ever completed, and the lenders were unaware that the real purchase price for each property was below the total amount funded.
Since Samuel burdened the banks with borrowers who were incapable of making their payments and the properties were worth less than the loans, a loss was practically guaranteed regardless of the market.
The DOJ said eight of Samuel’s associates in this scheme pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
“Greed-based crimes such as these can undermine the stability of our financial institutions and the economy, resulting in devastating consequences for homeowners, businesses and communities in which the properties are located,” said Monica Miller, special agent in charge of the Sacramento division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.