BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (CN) - Ten people have been arrested and accused of defrauding home lenders of $20 million in a real-estate flipping scam. David Crisp and Carlyle Cole owned Crisp, Cole & Associates aka Crisp & Cole Real Estate, of Bakersfield, and also ran Tower Lending, CCA's in-house mortgage broker.
Federal prosecutors said Crisp and Cole and their creatures defrauded mortgage lenders by submitting fraudulent loan applications, then flipping the homes, or selling them repeatedly, through straw buyers, inflating the price, using "close to 100 percent financing," to drain all the equity they could from the homes.
"CCA generally acted as the real estate brokerage on the sales, and Tower Lending acted as the mortgage brokerage on the financing transactions, generating substantial commissions and fees for the defendants on each transaction. The scheme involved more than $20 million in losses to lenders," the U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento said in a statement.
A federal grand jury in Fresno returned the indictment on Jan. 13 and it was unsealed Friday.
Other Bakersfield real estate brokers expressed a sort of relief to the city's daily newspaper, The Californian, calling Crisp & Cole newcomers to Bakersfield who "swooped in, did their deed and then left town."
Arrested were David Marshall Crisp, 31; Carlyle Lee Cole, 63; Julie Dianne Farmer, 42; Sneha Ramesh Mohammadi, 49; Jayson Peter Costa, 38; Jeriel Salinas, 29; Robinson Dinh Nguyen, 30; Michael Angelo Munoz, 31; Jennifer Anne Crisp, 29; and Caleb Lee Cole, 35. They face a 56-count federal indictment that includes charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud, money laundering and mail fraud. The conspiracy and fraud counts are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
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