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Ten Indicted in $20 Million-Plus California Real Estate Scam

NationalMortgageProfessional.com
Jan 24, 2011

David Marshall Crisp, Carlyle Lee Cole, Julie Dianne Farmer, Sneha Ramesh Mohammadi, Jayson Peter Costa, Jeriel Salinas, Robinson Dinh Nguyen, Michael Angelo Munoz, Jennifer Anne Crisp and Caleb Lee Cole were charged in a 56-count indictment with conspiracy to commit bank, mail and wire fraud, and with individual counts of mail fraud, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner has announced. Certain of the defendants were also charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to launder money. David Crisp and Carlyle Cole were the owners of Crisp, Cole & Associates (CCA), also known as Crisp & Cole Real Estate. They also controlled Tower Lending, CCA’s in-house mortgage broker business. Julie Farmer, Sneha Mohmamadi, Jayson Costa, Jeriel Salinas, Robinson Nguyen, and Michael Munoz were employed at CCA and/or at Tower Lending. Jennifer Crisp is the wife of David Crisp and Caleb Cole is the son of Carlyle Cole. Five other persons, including Megan Balod, Leslie Sluga, Kevin Sluga, a CPA who handled accounting matters for CCA, and Jerald Teixeira and Christopher Stovall, both former loan officers for Tower Lending, have previously pleaded guilty in related cases. The indictment alleges that, from approximately January 2004-September 2007, the defendants perpetrated a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders by submitting fraudulent loan applications with material misrepresentations, including misrepresentations concerning the borrower’s income, assets, employment status, and intent to use the home as the borrower’s primary residence. The indictment alleges that the defendants perpetrated the scheme in part by flipping homes, which is the selling of a single home on multiple occasions, through a series of fraudulent transactions to co-defendants, straw buyers, and others in order to artificially inflate the prices of the residences. The defendants typically increased the loan amounts and used close to 100 percent financing, in order to extract the inflated equity amounts from the properties on each financing transaction. CCA generally acted as the real estate brokerage on the sales, and Tower Lending acted as the mortgage brokerage on the financing transactions, generating substantial commissions and fees for the defendants on each transaction. The scheme involved more than $20 million in losses to lenders. This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the FBI with assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)– Office of Inspector General. They were assisted by the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stanley A. Boone and Kirk E. Sherriff are prosecuting the case. The maximum statutory penalty for the conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud counts is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum penalty for money laundering is 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000. Any sentence will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. For more information, visit http://sacramento.fbi.gov.
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