Firas “Russ” Bachi of Waterford Township, Mich. was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of supervised release for defrauding a bank in connection with 10 mortgage loans, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Paul M. Abbate, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division, and Jeffrey Frost, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit office of the U.S. Secret Service.
In addition, United States District Judge Bernard A. Friedman ordered Bachi to pay restitution to JPMorgan Chase Bank in the amount of $885,000.
Bachi pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud in October 2013. According to court records, Bachi was a mortgage broker based in Farmington Hills who did business under the name First Choice Finance.
In 2007, he acquired distressed residential properties in the city of Detroit and placed them in the names of straw sellers. Bachi then caused the appraisals of the properties to be inflated and sold the properties to straw buyers. The sales to the straw buyers were funded by mortgage loans made by Washington Mutual Bank (subsequently acquired by JPMorgan Chase Bank) based on loan applications that inflated the incomes and assets of the straw buyers and misrepresented the source of the downpayments. The loans went into default, and the houses were foreclosed on.
The investigation of this case was conducted by special agents of the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hiyama.