A woman who established a bogus title company and a loan processor are among four defendants in a mortgage fraud ring in Southern California’s Inland Empire who have been convicted of felonies, with three receiving prison terms ranging from one to seven years.
Angela Cotton, 38, of Fontana, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter to serve five years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $4 million for her role in the scheme.
Terral Toole, 42, of Lake Elsinore, was sentenced Monday to seven years, one month in prison and ordered to pay $291,055, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Central District of California said in a press release.
Cotton allegedly found two properties in Rancho Cucamonga that had lis pendens notices and, with the assistance of real estate professionals and straw buyers, fraudulently "purchased" one of the properties and obtained a $635,000 loan.
A second loan that netted the defendants $526,500 involved a refinance of a home owned by Lisa Lievanos, 46, of Fontana. Lievanos, who served as a straw buyer in the scheme, was convicted of five felony counts at trial and sentenced last year to one year and one day in prison by U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper.
Cooper also sentenced former loan processor Miles Davis, 47, of Reseda, to three years of probation, including six months of home detention, for his role in the scheme.
According to a press release issued after the four were indicted in 2008, the defendants supplied false employment information on loan applications.
Cotton allegedly signed the loan applications as the mortgage broker on the loans using the name "Tiffany Skinner," and established fraudulent escrow companies to complete the transactions, the indictment said.
Cotton assumed the aliases of escrow officer "Diane Laboski" and escrow employee "Rayven Skinner" when communicating with lenders, including Argent Mortgage Co., Mylor Financial, New Haven Financial and Bridgelock Capital.
What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor.