LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has indicted four people in a mortgage fraud scheme that collected approximately $4 million in loan proceeds for properties that were not for sale.
The four defendants, all of whom were taken into custody starting last night, are named in a 14-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury yesterday. The indictment accuses the defendants of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.
Those named in the indictment are:
• Angela Cotton, 38, of Fontana, who allegedly ran a bogus title company and who self-surrendered to federal authorities early this afternoon;
• Terral Toole, 40, of Irvine (formerly of Lake Elsinore), who was arrested last night;
• Miles Davis, 45, of Glendale (formerly of Reseda), a loan processor, who was arrested this morning; and
• Lisa Lievanos, 44, of Fontana, who allegedly acted as a “straw buyer,” who was arrested this morning.
All four are expected to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.
According to the indictment, Cotton found two properties in Rancho Cucamonga that had lis pendes notices filed against them, meaning that there was a dispute over the ownership of the property. Neverthess, Cotton, with the assistance of real estate professionals and people who agreed to sell their personal information, “purchased” the two properties and obtained funding on loans totalling approximately $4 million.
On each loan application, the four defendants allegedly included false employment information, which included verifying the amounts of income of the straw buyer. Cotton signed the loan applications as the mortgage broker on the loans using the name “Tiffany Skinner.” Cotton allegedly established fraudulent escrow companies to complete the fraudulent sale transactions. Cotton assumed the aliases of escrow officer “Diane Laboski” and escrow employee “Rayven Skinner” when communicating with the financial lending institutions. According to the indictment, the financial institution victims included Argent Mortgage Company, Mylor Financial, New Haven Financial and Bridgelock Capital.
Cotton, if convicted of the dozen charges in which she is named, faces a maximum statutory sentence of 175 years in federal prison. The other defendants also face potential prison terms.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is a result of an investigation by the FBI’s Southern California Mortgage (SCAM) Task Force.
CONTACT: Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura McCaffery
Major Frauds Section
Release No. 08-090