Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Co-Conspirator Cops Plea For Role In Title-Hijacking Scam Targeting Vacant Fannie, Freddie Foreclosures; Confederates Used Forged Deeds To Pilfer & Flip Over A Dozen Homes, Pocketing $3M+

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (San Diego, California):
  • Norwegian businessman Mohamed Daoud has pleaded guilty to laundering the proceeds of a complex scheme to steal real property.

    According to his plea agreement, between July 2012 and February 2013, Daoud helped to launder some of the millions of dollars in proceeds generated by a group of confederates who posed as the real owners of Southern California homes in order to “sell” the properties to unsuspecting buyers – who later learned that they had actually purchased nothing. Immediately after each sale, Daoud admitted, the confederates would disburse the money, ensuring that the funds vanished and the buyers could not recover their stolen money.

    During his guilty plea, Daoud admitted that he worked with a co-conspirator who used Daoud’s company, “Norway LLC,” as well as other business names, to pretend to acquire title to properties. The co-conspirator created fake deeds that made it appear the true owners had transferred the property to these companies, when in fact, the deeds were just forgeries, and the true owners had never really deeded the properties to anyone. He then arranged to have the forged deeds and other official documents recorded at the county recorder’s offices, so that the title records would make it appear that he was the property owner.

    ***

    Daoud admitted that during his participation in the money laundering conspiracy, his confederates induced at least six different buyers to purchase properties they did not own, leaving them with worthless claims to title and generating at least $1.4 million in proceeds from the fraud. Daoud received approximately $270,000 of the proceeds.

    Another co-schemer, Daniel Deaibes, pleaded guilty in March 2015 to participating in the fraud. Deaibes admitted that he and others continued to operate the scheme until November 2014 (when Daoud, Deaibes, and another co-defendant were each indicted and arrested). In total, Daoud and Deaibes have admitted that they and their confederates fraudulently sold or attempted to sell at least 13 homes for more than $3 million.

    As Deaibes admitted during his guilty plea, the schemers even took steps to thwart efforts by the true owners to regain clean title to the properties. In one instance, true owner Fannie Mae discovered that a fraudulent grant deed had been recorded on a property it owned in Rowland Heights, California. Shortly after discovering the fraudulent deed, Fannie Mae filed a lawsuit to recover control over the property and notify prospective buyers of the fraudulent deed. Undeterred, the schemers created a fake “Withdrawal of Lis Pendens” in an effort to proceed with the fraudulent sale. When Fannie Mae won a judgment in its favor and obtained a court finding that the deed was fraudulent, they created a fake “Satisfaction of Judgment” and recorded that fraudulent document as well.
    ***

    Most of these properties were actually owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- government sponsored enterprises with a mission to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the United States housing and mortgage markets.

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