Saturday, March 22, 2014

Colorado man sent to 108 months in prison for fraud

Roger K. Howard, 51, Englewood, Colorado, was sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson to serve 108 months in federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering. Following his prison sentence, Howard was ordered to serve three years on supervised release. He also has to pay $8.9 million in restitution to the victims of his crime. The defendant, who appeared at the sentencing hearing free on bond, was ordered to report to a facility designated by the U.S. Bureau of Prison within 15 days from the date of designation. As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, Howard, along with a co-defendant, Oai Quang Luong, 45, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on January 25, 2012. Howard pled guilty on June 21, 2013. He was sentenced on February 11, 2014. Howard‘s co-defendant, Oai Quang Luong, pled guilty to wire fraud on May 22, 2013, and was sentenced by Judge Jackson on August 15, 2013, to serve 18 months in prison. Luong was ordered to pay restitution totaling $3.2 million joint and several with Howard. According to the facts contained in the indictment as well as the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, in 2006 and 2007, Howard devised and participated in three similar but separate mortgage fraud schemes. The first and larger scheme involved the sales of 26 townhomes in a development known as Oliveglen Villas, East Princeton Place, Aurora, Colorado.

Seven suspects who have been charged in a mortgage fraud scheme

Seven suspects who have been charged in a mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded more than 1,550 Inland Valley, California, homeowners seeking loan modification services during the foreclosure crisis have been arrested. The felony complaint alleges that Nehad “Nick” Ayyoub Ayyoub, 57, San Bernardino, California, and president of The Firm Loans, Insurance and Investments Inc. and First Choice Debt Solutions Inc., along with his six colleagues, Ghydan Ayyoub Rabadi, 38, Los Angeles, California, Zaid Rabadi, 49, Los Angeles, James Clemons, 55, Riverside County, California, Wissam Ismail, 32, Riverside County, Eddie Mercado, 57, San Bernardino, and Majid Safaie, 60, Orange County, California, deceived homeowners by illegally charging up-front payments for loan modification services and lying about the services they provided. The suspects are charged in a 24 count complaint of felony grand theft, personal and corporate income tax evasion and conspiracy. The suspects were booked at Murrieta Detention Center, Orange County Jail, Rancho Cucamonga Jail and Azusa Police Department. Ayyoub is being held with bail set at $75,000 and all others are being held with bail set at $50,000. Ayyoub is facing a maximum exposure of 12 years in prison while his colleagues are facing a maximum exposure of 8 years. According to court filings, Ayyoub and his colleagues took advantage of homeowners who were desperate to lower their mortgage payments by selling them home loan modification services and requiring payment of up-front fees. Homeowners were falsely told that attorneys would be negotiating their loan modifications, that they would get a loan modification with no risk of failure, that they would receive a refund if they were dissatisfied and that the suspects had special contacts with lenders, which would give them an advantage in obtaining lowered monthly payments. Homeowners were instructed to stop paying their mortgage and to instead give the money to Ayyoub and his colleagues to ensure that they would obtain a loan modification, causing many victims to default on their home loans without obtaining a modification, according to court filings. The suspects operated this scam from January 2007 to March 2010, according to court filings. Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced the arrests.

Michael Wayne Harding pleaded guilty

Michael Wayne Harding, 59, Keswick, Virginia, a businessman and former commercial real estate agent who pled guilty last year to a variety of federal fraud charges, was sentenced in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Charlottesville. The defendant previously waived his right to be indicted and entered a plea of guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of bankruptcy fraud. In district court, Harding was sentenced to 30 months of federal incarceration. In addition, the defendant was ordered to pay more than $2,019,403 in restitution. According to a statement of facts agreed to by the defendant and admitted to the court at a previous hearing, Harding was the president and sole employee of a company called HMC Holdings. On numerous occasions, Harding attempted to secure mortgages for properties HMC Holdings owned based on improvements that had been made to those properties. However, in order to secure the mortgages, Harding was required to provide the mortgage companies with proof that work had been done to the properties. Harding is alleged to have created fake invoices in order to secure the mortgages. Harding also admitted that after being issued checks by the mortgage companies intended for the contractors, Harding took those checks to local businesses and had the funds converted for his own personal use. In April 2011, Harding filed bankruptcy. The defendant admitted today that during his bankruptcy proceedings he filed false monthly operating reports, failed to deposit all income into his debtor-in-possession account (which is required by the court), and lied about forging signatures on releases, liens, and deeds of trust. The defendant also admitted to lying about his relationship with a business partner in connection with a proposed sale of property during his corporate bankruptcy.