Fall Garden Strawman (Photo credit: Mike Miley)
Michael Ohayon, 44, San Francisco, CA, and David Papera, 50, San Rafael, CA, formed Sage Creek Ranch LLC for the purpose of developing property in California's Napa County - the famous wine region. Whatever these two entrepreneurs' dreams were, let's just say that it turned into vinegar, metaphorically, that is.
On February 11, 2010, Ohayon and Papera were indicted in federal court in the Northern District of California for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering.
Ohayon and Papera admitted to obtaining millions in loans from Washington Mutual Bank by submitting fraudulent loan applications in the names of individuals with good credit scores and inflated incomes who would each obtain a residential loan to purchase a parcel from Sage Creek Ranch LLC; unfortunately, these so-called straw buyers never made the requisite down payments nor mortgage payments. Having obtained over loan proceeds through fraud, Ohayon and Papera used over $1.25 million to pay down one of Papera's loans on a separately owned property.
On May 24, 2010, Ohayon pleaded guilt to conspiracy to commit bank fraud; bank fraud; and money laundering. On April 19, 2012, Papera pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering.
On August 29, 2012, Ohayon was sentenced to 60 months in prison and Papera to 70 months; and both were additionally sentenced to a five-year period of supervised release and ordered to make $10, 586,079.73 restitution to Chase Home Finance (Washington Mutual's successor).
Six straw buyers were charged with and pleaded guilty to tax felonies for failure to report as income approximately $50,000 they each received from Ohayon and Papera for allowing their names and credit to be used in the bank fraud scheme.
More than a tad of irony in this story about old WaMu being victimized by this gang of straw men. On September 25, 2008, the Off ice Thrift Supervision placed WaMu in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation receivership, and, thereafter, the FDIC sold WaMu's banking subsidiaries to JP Morgan Chase for just under $2 billion. Toward's year-end 2009, the WaMu name had pretty much disappeared from the branches and had been replaced by Chase's.
For additional mortgage fraud stories recently covered in "Street Sweeper" READ:
Home Foreclosure Scams, Mortgage Fraud, And Wall Street
Desperate Homeowners Victimized By Mortgage Modification Predators
Deutsche Bank And MORTGAGEIT Settle Federal Fraud Charges For $202 Million
Feds Slam Deutsche Bank But Next Day FINRA Nominates Executive To Its Board
Straw Man Mortgage Fraudster Headed to Federal Prison
Flim, Flam, Flip, Straw Man Mortgage Fraud
"Operation Stolen Dreams" Gets Another Mortgage Fraud Plea