Thursday, March 09, 2017

Ex-Real Estate Agent Gets 9+ Years After Jury Conviction For Mortgage Fraud; Among Bad Acts Was Use Of Forged Document To Obtain HELOC In Unwitting Straw Buyer's Name, Promptly Draining Account Of Available Cash Soon After Credit Line Was Funded

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (Sacramento, California):
  • Senior U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. sentenced Alla Samchuk, 45, of Roseville, to nine and a half years in prison for a mortgage fraud scheme and obstruction of justice, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

    A federal jury returned a verdict in August 2016 finding her guilty of six counts of bank fraud, six counts of making a false statement to a financial institution, one count of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
    ***
    [One] objective of the scheme was to obtain HELOC (home equity line of credit) funds. According to evidence at trial, on two of the properties, Samchuk diverted or attempted to divert HELOC funds to her own benefit. Samchuk caused the HELOC loans to fund by submitting false statements and documents to the lender regarding the qualifications of the straw buyers.

    The scheme involved two properties in Roseville and one in El Dorado Hills. In 2007, Samchuk filed an application for a HELOC on one of the properties without the straw buyer’s knowledge or consent. To obtain the HELOC, she forged the signature of the straw buyer on a short form deed of trust that she caused to be notarized and recorded. The stated purpose of the HELOC was home improvement, but once the line of credit was funded, Samchuk quickly diverted all of the funds to her own use, spending the proceeds on a Lexus and the repayment of a substantial personal debt.

    Samchuk received a higher sentence because the district court found that she obstructed justice when she threatened a witness not to report the crime to federal authorities. The court found that Samchuk’s statements to the witness constituted a threat that Samchuk purposefully calculated to dissuade the witness from alerting law enforcement about the fraud.

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