SACRAMENTO, CA - An Elk Grove woman was found guilty of charges related to mortgage fraud by a federal grand jury after a 10-day trial.
Hoda Samuel, 60, was convicted of conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud and of 30 individual counts of mail fraud, said Lauren Horwood, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of California.
Samuel, a licensed real estate broker, was owned and operated Liberty Real Estate & Investment Company, a real estate agency and a mortgage brokerage business. According to evidence presented during trial, between April 5, 2006 and Feb. 26, 2007, Samual's company oversaw 30 home sales that defrauded lending companies that provided financing of the homes of $5.5 million.
Horwood said Samuel's scheme involved employees and others to prepare loan applications with fake information that misrepresented a buyer's ability to pay back loans; when a lender would call an applicant, an employee would pretend to be a buyer and verify the fake information.
The offers overstated the value of the homes by $15,000 to $40,000. Horwood said the extra amounts were paid to the buyers out of escrow, which were disguised as payments for fake repairs for the home. In some cases, Samuel claimed buyers had disabled family members and needed money to remodel the home so it can be wheelchair accessible.
Horwood said eight others involved in the fraud pleaded guilty before trial and await sentencing.
Samuel is scheduled for sentencing on April 30. She faces a maximum 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud.