Examples of Financial Institution Fraud Investigations - Fiscal Year 2015


The following examples of Financial Institution Fraud Investigations are written from public record documents on file in the courts within the judicial district where the cases were prosecuted.

Tennessee Man Sentenced for Defrauding Multiple Banks  
On Sept. 28, 2015, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Ray M. Mubarak was sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,993,938 in restitution to three banks and a title insurance company. In May 2015, Mubarak pleaded guilty to conducting a scheme to defraud financial institutions and engaging in an unlawful monetary transaction with fraudulently-obtained loan proceeds. According to court documents, Mubarak engaged in a scheme to defraud multiple banks into loaning him over $6 million. He submitted false tax returns and personal financial statements which grossly inflated his income and net worth in order to qualify for the loans. Mubarak also admitted to defrauding the banks by causing them to rely on a fraudulent title opinion letter and forged loan closing documents and deeds.

Banker Sentenced for Taking more than $1 Million in Bribes
On Sept. 8, 2015, in San Diego, California, Robert Moreno, a GMAC banker, was sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay back $1,143,560 in restitution to GMAC and an additional $140,941. Moreno pleaded guilty in October 2014 to accepting more than $1 million in bribes while he worked for GMAC in return for rigging bids for secondary market mortgages in favor of his preferred customers. According to court records, between December 2011 and July 2013, Moreno used his position and influence at GMAC to ensure that his preferred customers, including San Diego businessman Israel Hechter and Woodland Hills businessman Ben Keisari, won their bids to purchase mortgage loans that were being resold by GMAC. In order to ensure Hechter’s and Keisari’s bids won, Moreno would alter other bids, reject bids, and erase or ignore bids from qualified competitors, so that his corrupt customers would appear to be the most qualified bidders. Moreno also provided Hechter and Keisari with “inside information” about prices and competing bids, giving them a leg up in the bidding process and ensuring that they won the most lucrative deals. In exchange, Hechter and Keisari, and others who worked for them, delivered bribe payments to Moreno totaling more than $1 million. Initially, Moreno arranged to be paid by personal check or in hand delivered cash payments in order to conceal the bribes and avoid reporting them to the IRS. Moreno never disclosed the income on his 2011 and 2012 tax returns. As the amount of the bribe payments increased, Moreno entered into sham “consulting” agreements with Hechter and Keisari, to make it appear as if the bribes were legitimate fees paid for services unrelated to Moreno’s work at GMAC. Using a business bank account opened for the purpose of receiving these bogus “consulting” payments, Moreno took in $550,000 in bribes.

Michigan Woman Sentenced for Embezzlement and Filing False Returns
On July 30, 2015, in Bay City, Michigan, Kimberly Misky, of Mt. Pleasant, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $313,523 to Citizens Bank and $69,713 to the IRS. Misky pleaded guilty in April 2015 to embezzlement and filing false returns with the IRS. According to court records, Misky was the branch manager of Citizens Bank in Alpena, Michigan. Beginning in April 2010 and continuing through July 2011, Misky used her position as branch manager to open and control fictitious bank accounts. She then accessed the certificates of deposit accounts of elderly, cognitively impaired and deceased bank customers and transferred the funds from those accounts to the fictitious accounts under her control. Later, Misky transferred the funds from the fictitious accounts to an account at another financial institution that was in her name and her daughter’s name. Overall, Misky embezzled approximately $86,489 in 2010 and $222,983 in 2011. Misky failed to declare the embezzled funds on her 2010 and 2011 income tax returns.  

North Carolina Land Developer and Several Defendants Sentenced in $23 Million Bank Loan Scheme
On June 25, 2015, in Asheville, North Carolina, Keith Vinson, of Arden, was sentenced to 216 months in prison, three years of supervised release and to pay $18,384,584 in restitution.  A federal jury convicted Vinson in October 2013 of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy.  Vinson was sentenced for his role in a scheme involving the development of Seven Falls, a golf course and luxury residential community in Henderson County, North Carolina. On June 2, 2015, five additional individuals were sentenced for their roles in the scheme.  Avery Ted “Buck” Cashion III, of Lake Luke, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $14,266,256 in restitution. Raymond M. “Ray” Chapman, of Brevard, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $14,266,256 in restitution. Thomas E. “Ted” Durham Jr., former President of the failed Pisgah Community Bank, of Fletcher, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $6,237,453 in restitution. Aaron Ollis, a former licensed Real Estate Appraiser, of Arden, was sentenced to two years of probation, including 12 months and one day home detention, and ordered to pay $10,199,106 in restitution. In addition, George M. Gabler, a former Certified Public Accountant from Fletcher, was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $5,000. According to court documents, trial evidence and statements made in court, beginning in 2008, the defendants conspired and obtained money from several banks through a series of straw borrower transactions, in order to funnel monies to Vinson and his failing development of Seven Falls. To advance this scheme Vinson, Chapman, Cashion and others recruited local bank officials including George Gordon “Buddy” Greenwood and Ted Durham, who at the time were presidents of banks. When bank officials realized that they had reached their legal lending limits with respect to some of the straw borrowers, additional straw borrowers were recruited to the scheme to make additional loans. Seven Falls and another luxury residential golf development by Vinson failed, resulting in millions in property losses. In addition, two banks failed and were taken over by the FDIC. Previously, Buddy Greenwood was sentenced to 42 months in prison.

Former Bank Executive Sentenced for Role in Conspiracy and Fraud Involving Investment Contracts
On May 18, 2015, in Asheville, North Carolina, Phillip D. Murphy, a former Bank of America executive, was sentenced to 26 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy related to bidding for contracts for the investment of municipal bond proceeds and other municipal finance contracts. On Feb. 10, 2014, Murphy pleaded guilty to participating in multiple fraud conspiracies and schemes with various financial institutions and brokers from as early as 1998 until 2006. According to court documents, Murphy conspired with employees of Rubin/Chambers Dunhill Insurance Services Inc., also known as CDR Financial Products, a broker of municipal contracts, and others. Murphy also pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to make false entries in the reports and statements originating from his desk, which were sent to bank management. Murphy conspired with CDR and others to increase the number and profitability of investment agreements and other municipal finance contracts awarded to Bank of America. In conjunction with the bid rigging, Murphy and his co-conspirators submitted numerous intentionally false certifications that were relied upon by both municipalities and the IRS. These false certifications misrepresented that the bidding process had been conducted in a competitive manner that was in conformance with U.S. Treasury regulations. These false certifications caused municipalities to award contracts to Bank of America and other providers based on false and misleading information. The false certifications also impeded and obstructed the ability of the IRS to collect revenue owed to the U.S. Treasury.

Former Real Estate Agent Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud Scheme
On May 18, 2015, in Fresno, California, Arlene Jeanette Mojardin, of Bakersfield, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiring to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. According to court documents, from 2007 to 2010, Mojardin, a licensed real estate agent, conspired with others to use straw buyers to purchase residential properties in Bakersfield, California. They paid straw buyers to purchase properties developed by Jara Brothers Investments (JBI) and Pershing Partners LLC and funded the purchases using loans they obtained based on false and fraudulent loan applications. The loan applications contained false statements concerning the straw buyers’ employment status, income, assets, intent to occupy the properties as their personal residences, and the source for the down payments for the purchase of the properties. The conspirators concealed from the lenders that the property developers funded some down payments. They submitted false supporting documentation to lenders such as false and altered bank account statements purporting to show that the straw buyers had high bank account balances, false verifications of the straw buyers’ bank account funds, false verifications of rent purporting to be from the straw buyers’ landlords, false pay stubs, and false verifications of employment. She was also employed at relevant times at JBI, was a property buyer from Pershing Partners on at least two of the real estate transactions in the conspiracy, and obtained loans based on false and fraudulent information. Mojardin received proceeds from the conspiracy including payments for purchasing property as a nominee buyer and payments for acting as the real estate agent on many of the other transactions in the conspiracy. Mojardin admitted she caused lenders approximately $3,713,600 in losses due to her role in the conspiracy. Co-defendant Antonio Perez-Marcial was sentenced on May 12, 2014, to 46 months in prison for his role in the conspiracy.

Florida Businessman Sentenced for $44 Million Bank Fraud Conspiracy
On April 13, 2015, in Orlando, Florida, Pedro “Pete” Benevides was sentenced to 108 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $44,059,565, including several bank accounts containing approximately $40 million in cash and two exotic sports cars. In addition, Benevides was also ordered to pay full restitution to the financial institutions that were the victims of his offense.  According to court documents, from about 2005 through September 2008, Benevides obtained 20 commercial and residential loans and lines of credit from several federally insured financial institutions. Benevides obtained the fraudulent loans by providing the financial institutions with documents that, among other things, contained false information concerning his income and assets or the business that he used to obtain the loans and lines of credit. Once he received the loans, Benevides used the fraudulently obtained funds for his own purposes, including paying the interest and principal on other, earlier loans that he had obtained in order to continue the fraudulent scheme, paying business expenses, paying the other co-conspirators involved in the scheme, and funding living expenses for himself and his family.

Former Federal Credit Union Employee Sentenced for Bank Fraud and Filing False Tax Returns
On March 25, 2015, in Valdosta, Georgia, Kelly Yawn was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $628,539 in restitution to the fraud victims and $139,865 to the IRS. On Jan. 6, 2015, Yawn pleaded guilty to bank fraud and filing false tax returns. According to court documents, between February 2008 and November 2011, while employed by a federal credit union Yawn accessed the credit union’s computer system to prevent electronic transactions (ACH) and written share drafts from posting to her account. Using that scheme, Yawn was able to misdirect for her own benefit more than 900 share drafts and more than 1200 ACH transactions, totaling more than $499,000 that were paid from credit union funds. Yawn took additional actions to cover up the transactions so that they would not be discovered by the credit union or outside auditors by posting fraudulent deposits to credit union accounts. Yawn also filed federal income tax returns for 2008 through 2011 and failed to include the money she received from the scheme on her federal tax returns as income in those years.

Ohio Man Sentenced for Defrauding Credit Union
On Feb. 23, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio, John Struna, of Concord Township, was sentenced to 43 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.3 million in restitution. Struna was also ordered to forfeit a restaurant he owned, a condominium in Florida and a 2014 Mazda. Struna previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of making false statements and four counts of money laundering. According to court documents, Struna defrauded the Taupa Lithuanian Credit Union, based in Cleveland, out of $2.3 million. Credit union CEO Alex Spirikaitis, former teller Michael Ruksenas and Vytas Apanavicius have previously been found guilty for their roles in conspiracies related to defrauding the credit union. Struna maintained both personal and corporate accounts at Taupa dating back to 1995. He began a conspiracy with Spirikaitis in 2002 and continued through 2013, during which time Spirikaitis caused Taupa to make approximately 46 fraudulent transfers into Struna’s accounts. In 2011, Struna requested and received $112,105 from Spirikaitis for the purchase of a condominium located in Ft. Myers, Florida. At no time did Struna submit any credit applications or loan documents. The fraudulent transfers totaled approximately $2.3 million. From 2002 through 2013, Struna repaid only approximately $15,000 of the $2.3 million Spirikaitis transferred into his accounts.

Co-Conspirators Sentenced for Bank Fraud
On Feb. 5, 2015, in New Bern, North Carolina, Joseph Grecco, of DuBois, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Grecco pleaded guilty on March 12, 2014 to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. On Jan. 8, 2015, Ronald Doerrer, of Kure Beach, North Carolina, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On Aug. 8, 2014, Edward A. Yates, of Wilmington, North Carolina, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and three years of supervised release. A fourth co-defendant, and leader of the conspiracy, Ronald Hayden Kotler, remains at large. According to court documents, Kotler and Doerrer operated a company, Commercial Loan Solutions (CLS) from 2006 to 2009. CLS offered its services as a broker to provide bank financing for individuals and companies, in exchange for hefty fees, ranging from 15% to 25% of the loan amount. As part of the conspiracy, Kotler and Doerrer helped clients to falsify loan applications by submitting false tax returns, and vastly inflating these individuals’ business income and assets. The scheme involved obtaining money, funds, credits, and other things of value from financial institutions by providing them with materially false information and making fraudulent representations and promises. These financial institutions suffered losses in excess of $4,500,000 as a result of the scheme.

California Man Sentenced for Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 26, 2015, in Sacramento, California, Leonard E. Williams was sentenced to 87 months in prison.  According to evidence presented at trial, from late 2006 into 2008, Williams conspired with others to carry out a mortgage fraud scheme using his companies Diamond Hill Financial and Bay Area Real Estate Holdings. The scheme resulted in the issuance of more than $2 million in home loans, with most of the buyers ultimately defaulting. Williams and his partner Joshua Clymer recruited underqualified buyers to purchase homes with promises of cash back, no money down, and illusory equity in the homes. Williams and others assisted these home buyers in securing loans with fraudulent loan applications that contained lies about the buyers’ employment, income, assets, and intent to occupy the homes as a primary residence. In most cases, the loan applications falsely stated that the buyers worked at Diamond Hill Financial. The loan applications also listed false assets and were accompanied by various forged documents, which increased the amount of the loans to the buyers, which in turn increased the profits of the fraud to Williams, Clymer, and others. The profit to Williams and Clymer varied from $5,000 to over $30,000 per transaction, with the two of them often splitting the proceeds. Clymer is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.

Michigan Man Sentenced for Home Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy
On Jan. 23, 2015, in Detroit, Michigan, Wasseem Shamoun, of Northville, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, five years of supervised released and ordered to pay $394,000 in restitution to five defrauded banks. Shamoun pleaded guilty on Aug. 12, 2014, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. According to court documents, from approximately January 2006 to December 2008, Shamoun and his six co-defendants conspired to defraud financial lending institutions to obtain residential mortgage loans by providing fraudulent information on loan applications. The defendants devised a scheme to purchase single-family homes for approximately $5,000 to $40,000 each, and then recruited straw buyers to submit fraudulent loan applications for home mortgages substantially above the original purchase price. The loan applications falsified the straw buyers’ assets, income and down payment, among other things. The straw buyers were paid fees for their participation, which were sometimes falsely disguised as “landscaping” or “construction” fees. The conspirators made a substantial profit and paid themselves commissions on the sales. Every home purchased and sold as part of the scheme went into foreclosure. Shamoun’s role in the conspiracy was to sell properties to the straw buyers. He was directly responsible for a criminal loss of approximately $394,000.  

Connecticut Man Sentenced for Orchestrating Mortgage Fraud Scheme
On Jan. 6, 2015, in Hartford, Connecticut, Filippos Milios, aka Filip Milios, of Newington, was sentenced to 97 months in prison and five years of supervised release. On Sept. 15, 2014, Milios pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, from approximately June 2005 to July 2010, Milios and others conspired to defraud banks and mortgage lenders in obtaining dozens of mortgages for the sale of properties owned by Milios and others. The conspiracy involved the use of straw borrowers, false mortgage applications, false HUD-1 forms and fraudulent down payments in connection with the purchase of more than 50 houses. Attorney Gabriel Serrano, who served as a closing attorney for most of the fraudulent transactions, often released the seller’s proceeds checks from closing to Milios before receiving the down payment, and Milios used the seller’s proceeds checks to purchase the down payment check for the same transaction. Milios also failed to disclose to mortgage lenders that he paid money to borrowers, mortgage brokers, and recruiters. In addition, Serrano disbursed the fraudulently-obtained loan proceeds to the private lenders who had loaned Milios money when he originally purchased the properties. Lenders lost $5,692,813 as a result of this scheme. Milios, who is a citizen of Greece, faces immigration proceedings when he is released from prison. Serrano is awaiting sentencing.

Colorado Man Sentenced for Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 16, 2014, in Denver, Colorado, Peter V. Capra, of Littleton, was sentenced to 144 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $9 million in restitution. Capra was convicted on March 21, 2014, on 14 counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of money laundering. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Capra was the President of Golden Design Group, Inc. (GDG), a company that built and sold houses. Capra was also the registered agent for Distinctive Mortgages, LLC, which provided mortgages to some of the customers buying houses from GDG. From January 2005 through July 2008, Capra, along with others, defrauded several mortgage lenders through applications for residential mortgage loans and related documents associated with real estate purchases. Capra structured transactions involving GDG homes to allow buyers to receive substantial amounts of the lenders’ money at the time of closing without the knowledge of the lenders. He also sold a large volume of homes to otherwise unwilling or unqualified buyers. Capra netted more than $11,000,000 as a result of his scheme. Loan applications for the buyers were submitted through several different mortgage brokers that contained materially false and fraudulent representations about the buyers’ income, liabilities, source of down payment and intent to occupy the properties as their primary residences. At closing, funds ranging from $85,000 to more than $200,000 were distributed to the buyers in ways that prevented the lenders from discovering that these funds were actually going to the buyers; these funds were not disclosed in the HUD-1 closing statements or were disguised in those statements.

Mortgage Broker Sentenced for Role in Multimillion Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme
On Dec. 8, 2014, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Alpha Rashidi Mshihiri was sentenced to 150 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Mshihiri was convicted on Feb. 20, 2014 of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. According to trial evidence, between 2007 and 2009, Mshihiri, who was once a licensed mortgage broker, and his co-conspirators defrauded a number of lenders for millions of dollars by recruiting straw buyers, falsifying loan applications and other documents, and inflating real estate purchase prices. Straw buyers submitted fraudulent loan applications to mortgage lenders. In support of fraudulent loan applications, Mshihiri and his co-conspirators created false documents, such as W-2 Forms, pay stubs, driver’s licenses, and bank statements, which straw buyers submitted to mortgage lenders to obtain financing. In some instances, they used stolen identities to fill out loan applications. The proceeds of the loans were used to pay existing mortgages, financially benefiting Mshihiri and others. The scheme also included Mshihiri’s involvement in kickbacks to GWP and Pristine Home Loans, companies he owned and operated. Every property purchased through the scheme went into foreclosure, resulting in nearly $2 million in losses to the victim lenders.

Wisconsin Businessman Sentenced for Bank Fraud and Theft from Pension Fund
On Dec. 3, 2014, in Madison, Wisconsin, Christian Peterson, of Madison, was sentenced to 84 months in prison following his convictions for bank fraud, money laundering and making false statements to banks. Peterson was also ordered to pay $816,168 in restitution to Greenwoods State Bank. Peterson was convicted by jury trial in May 2014. According to evidence given at the trial, between 2006-2007, Peterson committed two acts of bank fraud and made false statements to banks by lying to M&I Bank about the purpose of a wire transfer of funds taken from Maverick, Inc.’s $6.25 million business line of credit to a casino in Las Vegas, and by lying to Greenwoods State Bank in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, about the purpose of a $1.1 million loan for real estate development in Fitchburg. In addition to his convictions for bank fraud, money laundering and making false statements to banks, Peterson was convicted of stealing his former employees’ 401(k) account funds and using the money to pay his former wife $7,500 in alimony and to lend himself $10,000.

Attorney and Real Estate Developers Sentenced In Mortgage Fraud Case
On Nov. 12, 2014, in Greenville, North Carolina, four participants in a Wilmington-area mortgage fraud scheme were sentenced to prison. Justin Lee Rooks, developer, of Loris, South Carolina, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,766,511 in restitution. Michael Thomas Bartlett, developer, of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,333,020 in restitution. Robert Harold Melville Jr., closing attorney, of Lake Waccamaw, was sentenced to 31 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,333,020 in restitution. Anthony Michael Tew, of Conway, South Carolina was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $883,420 in restitution. On Dec. 11, 2012, Rooks and Bartlett pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and bank fraud. Melville pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. According to court documents, between May of 2004 and August of 2008, Rooks, Bartlett and others conspired to defraud banks and lenders in connection with the purchase, development, and resale of properties. The conspirators solicited individuals to allow construction loans to be obtained in their names for the benefit of the conspirators in exchange for cash. The conspirators enticed the buyers to participate in the transactions and engaged in various actions to make it appear to the banks and lenders that the buyers were qualified for the loans. Ultimately, many of the loans went into default and the banks and lenders were forced to sell the properties at a substantial loss.

Eight Sentenced to Prison for Expansive Mortgage Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 27, 2014, and Oct. 28, 2014, in Raleigh, North Carolina, eight defendants were sentenced to prison and collectively ordered to pay more than $10 million in forfeiture and restitution judgments for their roles in an expansive mortgage fraud scheme. Those sentenced included multiple real estate developers, a closing attorney, two mortgage brokers and a real estate broker. Those sentenced include:
• Vincent Maldini, - 60 months in prison and ordered to pay $667,859 in restitution to 11 lenders.
• Ricky Lamont Congleton - 66 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,123,459 to the victims of his crime, and another $3,253,142 in the form of a criminal forfeiture judgment.
• Dexter Tirrell Jones - 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,367,129 in restitution.
• Phillip Graham Rose - 42 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,589,298 in restitution.
• Johnny Ray Peele - 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $728,244 in restitution and forfeiture.
• Dwayne Thomas Hall - 39 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,214,326 in restitution and forfeiture of $7,278,558.
• Treshell Mayo Herndon - 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,059,719 in restitution as well as the criminal forfeiture of several million dollars in gross criminal proceeds.
• Joseph Carl Hollis - five years of probation which included an 18 month term of house arrest, and ordered to pay $198,500.
Jones, Congleton, Rose, Maldini, Peele, Hall, and Herndon, were each charged with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Hollis was charged with conspiracy to commit mail, wire, and bank fraud. According to court documents, various developers in the scheme, unlawfully profited from the sale of properties purchased or developed by the conspirators to individual “straw buyers”, who did not have the financial means to purchase the properties. Banks and other lenders were deceived into disbursing loan or issuing loans on terms they would not otherwise have authorized. Straw buyers were left accountable for loans that they did not have the financial means to repay, and banks were forced to initiate foreclosure proceedings and sell the properties at a loss. Between 2003 and 2009, the defendants’ actions resulted in mortgage loan disbursements exceeding $20 million, $5 million in loan proceeds, and losses exceeding $1 million.  

Mortgage Broker Sentenced for Mortgage, Tax and Bankruptcy Frauds
On Oct. 24, 2014, in San Diego, California, Donald V. Totten was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Totten pleaded guilty in February 2014 to four felony counts relating to his mortgage, tax, and bankruptcy frauds. According to court documents, Totten made millions at the height of the mortgage boom by marketing a variety of loan options. To deceive lenders into funding these loans, Totten and his staff routinely made up false financial information for clients so they would appear to qualify for loans which, in reality, they could not afford. From this endeavor, Totten took a hefty commission every time a loan closed. Totten also ran a separate scheme to skim inflated equity from real estate sales. Totten and others recruited investors to act as “straw” buyers in the purchase and re-sale of property. Once they acquired the properties, the buyers would transfer ownership to Totten without disclosing the transfer to the mortgage lenders. Totten and his co-conspirators used this scheme to obtain a $3.4 million oceanfront home in Lahaina, Hawaii, where the co-conspirators lived for several years without making any mortgage payments. Many of the fraudulently-obtained mortgage loans subsequently defaulted, causing mortgage lenders and secondary purchasers, to suffer significant losses as a result of the conspiracy. In addition, Totten used several of the properties to fraudulently shelter $3.4 million in taxable income from the IRS. In his tax filings, Totten claimed that he earned deferred, non-taxable gains when in fact, as he knew, the income was taxable. As a result, Totten cheated the IRS out of more than half a million dollars in unpaid taxes. In 2012, Totten filed for bankruptcy. Totten used the bankruptcy case as yet another opportunity to his shelter money, hiding nearly $100,000 in income he earned by renting out one of his fraudulently-obtained Hawaii vacation homes. Totten arranged for his associates to collect the rental income on his behalf, so that the trustee charged with control of his bankruptcy estate would not discover the money.

Colorado Man Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud Scheme
On Oct. 2, 2014, in Denver, Colorado, Chaval Williams, of Centennial, was sentenced to 74 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $766,800 in restitution. Williams pleaded guilty on May 29, 2013, to wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering. According to court documents, from March 2005, through December 2006, Williams conducted business through his company "TCW of Denver, Inc.", during which time he arranged for or assisted buyers to obtain loans for the purchase of homes. With the assistance of others, Williams defrauded real estate lenders, particularly by fraudulently securing real estate financing for the purchase of properties, typically through the use of nominee (or "straw") home buyers. Williams provided false information to lenders and caused lenders to provide a significant portion of lender funds directly to himself or his company TCW of Denver. To make these payments appear legitimate, he presented false documents in connection with the closing of the property. He arranged for home buyers to receive kickbacks as payment for their role in purchasing a home. Williams on several occasions purchased and then resold a home to a buyer within the same day, collecting a substantial profit from the resale and would conceal from the lender the resale of the property. The total loss amount Williams caused to the functional institutions was over $2.4 million.

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