SACRAMENTO, CA - A mortgage fraud investigation lead to the indictment of nine people last week.
The defendants are charged with buying at least 19 homes in connection to bank and mortgage fraud, said Lauren Horwood, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California.
According to court documents, two brothers Volodymyr Dubinsky, 53, of Folsom, and Leonid Doubinski, 47, of Copperopolis, were real estate developers, but when the housing market began to crash, they recruited family, friends and co-workers with good credit to act as straw buyers for homes in Carmichael and Copperopolis.
While straw buyers, usually used to buy something on the behalf of someone else who can't finish the transaction, are legal, they can be illegal when used for fraud.
Horwood said the brothers enlisted licensed mortgage broker Edward Khalfin, 55, and real estate sellers Robin Dimiceli, 50, and Diana Woods, 55, to help submit loan applications for the fake straw buyers. The applications contained falsified information about the buyers and their intent to live in the homes to get the money from the loans.
The straw buyers included, Dimiceli, Woods, Svetlana Dubinsky, 48, Serge Doubinski, 29, Zinayda Chekayda, 49, and Kory Schmidli, 34.
Horwood said if the suspects are convicted, they could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.