Internal Revenue Service – Man Sentenced to 33 Months In Federal Prison for Role in Mortgage Fraud

LawFuel.com – US Legal Newswire Service

For Immediate Release: Friday, June 18, 2010

Will pay approximately $438,000 in restitution

LOS ANGELES, California – One of three men involved in a mortgage fraud scheme in Yucca Valley, California was sentenced earlier this week in the United States District Court in Los Angeles for participating in a conspiracy in connection with a mortgage fraud and identity theft scheme.

On June 14, Ata Dighlawi, of Lake Elsinore, California, was sentenced to serve 33 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $438,000 in restitution by United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez.

According to the filed plea agreement for Dighlawi, in early 2006, co-defendant Mohamed Esmail purchased three homes in Yucca Valley, California, and in September and October 2006, Esmail sold these three Yucca Valley homes at inflated prices. The named buyer of the homes for these purchases was Yousef Mohamed, whom Dighlawi, Esmail, and another co-conspirator Jubran Dighlawi knew had died in 1995.

According to the plea agreement, Dighlawi, Esmail and Jubran Dighlawi took out loans in the deceased man’s name to purchase the Yucca Valley properties. The loan applications that were submitted to Countrywide Home Loans in Los Angeles, California, Homecomings Financial, and Washington Mutual Bank in Orange County, California, were for loans that amounted to $230,000, $180,000, and $230,000, respectively. These mortgage loans applications were falsely submitted in the name of Mohamed, a deceased person and listed Mohamed’s Social Security number and date of birth on the applications. The applications also stated that Mohamed intended to be the owner and occupant of these properties.

According to the plea agreement, Dighlawi, Esmail, and Jubran Dighlawi knew that they did not have authority to use Mohamed’s name and personal identifying information on the loan documents. Dighlawi also possessed at least one credit card in Mohamed’s name that was used by Dighlawi, Esmail, and Jubran Dighlawi to make purchases and pay the credit card bills in order for them to built Mohamed’s credit needed to apply for the mortgage loans. Dighlawi also obtained a false California driver’s license in Mohamed’s name with Dighlawi’s photograph.

In February 2010, Esmail was sentenced to serve 6 months in federal prison and 12 months home confinement, and ordered to pay approximately $78,000 in restitution. Esmail previously pleaded guilty and acknowledged that the purpose of these financial transactions was to conceal and disguise the source, nature, ownership, and control of the funds. He also acknowledged that he laundered $78,605 in proceeds from the mortgage transactions as part of his agreement with co-conspirator Jubran Dighlawi.

Co-conspirator Jubran Dighlawi, was previously indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, bank fraud, loan fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. Jubran Dighlawi is currently a fugitive.

Dighlawi is scheduled to surrender to federal custody to begin his prison term on September 17, 2010.
The investigation and prosecution of Diglawi was conducted by IRS – Criminal Investigation in Laguna Niguel, Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Long Beach, California, in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

United States Attorney’s Office Contact: Stephen I. Goorvitch
Assistant United States Attorney
(213) 894-2476

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