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16 December 2004 – LAWFUEL – First with law news – The United Stat…

16 December 2004 – LAWFUEL – First with law news – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced that a federal grand jury in Oakland indicted Laurence Seidenfeld with four counts of bank fraud today. According to the indictment, Mr. Seidenfeld, 61, of San Ramon, executed a scheme to defraud four banks of over $13 million. Seidenfeld allegedly obtained loans based on fraudulent documents and “double sold” those loans without the knowledge of the financial institutions. “Double sold” generally means that a lender fraudulently sells one loan to more than one investor.

A criminal complaint filed in connection with the indictment states that Seidenfeld controls a California corporation named CHL Mortgage Group, Inc., in San Ramon, California. The complaint alleges that Seidenfeld engaged in bank fraud by fraudulently obtaining mortgage loans on property without the owner’s consent or knowledge. Those mortgage loans were then sold multiple times to various warehouse banks, lenders and investors without their knowledge that the loans were fraudulently obtained.

According to the complaint, several individuals either financed or refinanced mortgages on their residences through CHL. At a later date they received letters from warehouse banks, lenders, or investors concerning subsequent loans or second mortgages on their property. However, no applications for those fraudulent loans had been made by the property owners. Upon review of the signatures on the loan applications, it was determined that those signatures were forged.

The indictment charges Seidenfeld with criminal forfeiture of $13,039,203, the alleged proceeds of the bank fraud.

Mr. Seidenfeld was arrested on December 10, 2004, and made his initial appearance in federal court in Oakland today. He is currently being held on a no-bail warrant. The defendant’s next scheduled court appearance is tomorrow at 10 a.m. before Judge Wayne D. Brazil for his arraignment and a detention hearing.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(1) is 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be dictated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and would be imposed at the discretion of the court. An indictment only contains allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Seidenfeld must be presumed innocent unless and until convicted.

The prosecution is the result of a one month investigation by agents of the FBI and investigators with the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen Bessette is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release and related court filings may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can . Related court documents and information may be found on the U.S. District Court website at www.cand.uscourts.gov or on .

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.