Another Crisp & Cole Defendant Sent to Prison

Facts:On March 24, Jayson Peter Costa a defendant in the Crisp & Cole federal mortgage fraud case was sentenced to six-and-one-half-years for one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. He admitted in a plea agreement he was not properly licensed to do the loan processing work he performed at Tower Lending, the Bakersfield, Calif. mortgage brokerage central to the 15-defendant fraud case.

In the plea deal, Costa also acknowledged giving lenders false and fraudulent loan applications filed on behalf of co-conspirators. He further admitted being one of the company's straw buyers, meaning he took out loans to buy homes at inflated prices in order to sell them again and extract their artificially inflated equity.

Costa admitted to causing lenders losses of at least $7.5 million between 2004 and 2007. He is scheduled to turn himself in on May 5. 

Federal prosecutors said that Costa's employers, David Crisp and Carl Cole, along with others helped conceal from California Department of Real Estate investigators that Costa was performing work at Tower he was not licensed to do. The group falsified paperwork to make it appear that Cole, a licensed broker, had acted as the loan officer on various loans instead of Costa.

Cole was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. Crisp, who has pleaded guilty to the same crime as Cole, has not been sentenced yet.

A trial is expected to begin on April 8, 2014 Crisp's and Cole's former operations manager, Julie Dianne Farmer, the only defendant in the case without a plea deal. She maintains she did not know the work she did for them was against the law. (bkrsfldcal32414)

Moral: Good luck with the trial. I have only seen two winners in 14 years. One was mine for showing a bank was not a bank at the time the loan went down and the other was another attorney defense showing the bank could not show its current charter proving it was a bank.

San Diego Real Estate Agent and His Loan Officer Wife Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud Conviction

Facts: On March 27, Eric Elegado, a San Diego real estate agent and his loan officer wife Charmagne were sentenced to three years and five months apiece in prison for directing a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in more than $10 million in bank losses and scores of foreclosures.

Charmagne Elegado is a former account executive for New Century Mortgage. They had both pleaded guilty to heading a conspiracy to obtain $50 million in home loans for unqualified buyers by falsifying job and salary information on loan applications.

Between 2005 and 2007, the couple worked with others to defraud lenders in order to obtain money and property by obtaining mortgage loans, primarily through New Century Mortgage, for the unqualified buyers. The Elegados conceded that their co-defendants were paid fees of about $500 for allowing the finance and real estate companies they owned to be fraudulently listed on buyers' loan documents. The co-conspirators falsified documents, such as W-2 forms, pay stubs and bank statements, for submission to mortgage lenders, including Charmagne Elegado.

The Elegados' accused co-conspirators have also pleaded guilty to taking part in the crimes, but have yet to be sentenced. It is alleged the Elegados took away at least $40,000 per month in commissions from these transactions using the money to buy high-end homes, clothing, jewelry and cars including a Rolls Royce, a Bentley and a Hummer.

They must return in May 2014 for a restitution hearing where the federal government is expected to be seeking more than $10 million dollars in restitution.  (ap32814cns32714)

Moral: As I have been saying to the point of "ad nauseam" the federal agents are still rounding up mortgage fraud cases from 2006. The federal prosecutors have 10 years to indict from the time the loan closed and the broker or loan officer was paid. Is anyone out there concerned? Ask questions to lower the concern.

California Mortgage Broker Gets Five Year Sentence for Fraud

Facts: On March 27, Alexander Romaniolis was sentenced to prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme that involved residential properties in Rocklin and Roseville. District Judge Troy R. Nunley sentenced him to 30 months in prison, a $17,500 fine and forfeiture of more than $400,000 for mortgage fraud.

Romaniolis recruited five straw buyers to purchase eight residential properties in Rocklin, Roseville and the Southern California community of San Clemente. He assisted the straw buyers in providing false information to lenders about their employment, income, assets and intent to occupy properties as primary residences. In most cases, the straw buyers claimed to be executives of companies created and controlled by Romaniolis.

Romaniolis was responsible for origination of more than $5 million in residential mortgage loans in the scheme. All the properties were foreclosed on, resulting in a total loss of more than $2 million. (usattyedca32714 Docket #: 2:13-cr-00089)

Moral: You will notice the federal authorities are still actively pursuing mortgage fraud that occurred in 2002 and 2007 as well as newer ones. They are now (in this attorney's opinion) more active than before because of all the negative publicity they have been receiving about not actively prosecuting the cases as other government officials had been led to believe.

The information contained herein is not legal advice. An attorney should be consulted if you desire legal advice.