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Tuesday, June 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

$100M Mortgage Fraud Ring Alleged in SoCal

SAN DIEGO (CN) - Federal prosecutors charged 24 people with running a $100 million mortgage fraud ring involving more than 220 properties, in a RICO complaint. The U.S. attorney said gang member Darnell Bell led the ring, and paid real estate broker $10,000 Stanley Gentry a month, plus commissions, for use of his broker's license.

Prosecutors said other leaders of the ring included Michael Ivy, who took the lead in negotiating the purchases, and Billie Bishop, an escrow officer "who facilitated the fraudulent purchase of more than 100 properties on behalf of the enterprise."

Bell allegedly made $9 million from it. The defendants are accused of running the scheme, involving straw buyers, kickbacks and zero down payments, from January 2005 through April 2008, using "multiple real estate businesses, including the Ivy House Inc., the Real Estate Center of Southern California, and the Real Estate Center of La Mesa, to facilitate the fraudulent purchase of real estate."

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a press release: "The indictment also charges that several real estate professionals were members of the racketeering conspiracy, including: Diana Jaime, a public notary, Jorge Cortez, a licensed real estate agent, Esteban Valenzuela, a licensed real estate appraiser, Anton Ewing, a Certified Public Accountant, and Randolph Hirsch and Dennis Tapia, registered tax preparers. Latashia McKinney and Marcus Dozzell, aka Kali, recruited individuals to obtain fraudulent mortgage loans and purchase properties on behalf of the corrupt enterprise. Lorena Callu was employed by the corrupt enterprise and facilitated the fraudulent purchase of real estate by, among other things, preparing and submitting false loan applications. Desiree Holiday, Dexter Holiday, Keith Holiday, Gerard Holiday, Ray Logan aka Jack Nasty, David Lewis, Joseph Lewis, Stevie Frazier, Jorge Magana, Nicoele Watson and Daniel Williams are all alleged to have fraudulently obtained mortgage loans and purchased properties on behalf of the corrupt enterprise."

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