An Elk Grove mortgage company owner was found guilty of committing mortgage fraud, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
Hoda Samuel, 60, of Elk Grove, was also found guilty of 30 individual counts of mail fraud.
Samuel was the owner of Liberty Real Estate & Investment Company, a real estate company, and Liberty Mortgage Company, a mortgage brokerage company and between April 2006 and February 2007, her companies facilitated 30 residential real estate transactions that defrauded the financial lending institutions. During that time, she served as the real estate broker for the purchaser for all of the transactions and represented the seller in at least 15 of the cases.
At least 28 of the properties went into foreclosure, which resulted in a more than $5.5 million loss to lenders, according to the press release.
As part of the scheme, Samuel’s co-conspirators and employees at Liberty Mortgage prepared loan applications with false information that misrepresenting the buyers’ ability to pay back loans and overstated or gave false information regarding employment, income, assets and liabilities.
“When a lender would attempt to verify the information by calling the purported employer, the phone number on the application led to a Liberty employee or associate who falsely verified the information,” according to the press release.
The purchase contracts prepared by Liberty Real Estate overstated the value of properties sometimes exceeding the actual prices by $15,000 to $40,000 in the offers, according to the press release. The excess amounts were disguised as payments for fictional repairs and remodeling costs during escrow.
Eight of Samuel’s co-conspirators in the scheme pleaded guilty before the trail. They are awaiting sentencing.
Samuel’s sentencing is scheduled for April 30. She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud, according to the press release.
“Mortgage fraud schemes of the sort perpetrated by Hoda Samuel and her co-defendants wreaked havoc in this region,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said in a press release. “As a result of this prosecution, she and her co-defendants are facing significant prison terms. Taking fraudsters out of the residential real estate industry and sending them to prison has been one of this office’s top priorities. Last year we indicted more mortgage fraud defendants than any other U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country, and we are not done yet.”