4 Arrested for Straw Buyer / Kickback Scheme

Allison Tussey —  October 26, 2011 — Leave a comment

Olga Palamarchuk, 41, Rancho Cordova, California; Pyotr Bondaruk, 40, Sacramento, California; Peter Kuzmenko, 33, West Sacramento, California; and Vera Zhiry, 32, Sacramento, were arrested for mail fraud and bank fraud in a scheme that resulted in losses of at least $900,000 to lenders. On October 20, 2011, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment that was unsealed.

According to court records, Palamarchuk, a loan officer at Capital Mortgage Lending Inc. recruited Bondaruk to purchase two houses using 100 percent financing and to obtain a home equity line of credit on one of the houses. In order to qualify for the loans, Palamarchuk and Bondaruk submitted fraudulent loan applications to lenders, falsely stating Bondaruk‘s employment, income, and intent to occupy the homes as his primary residence.

The indictment alleges that, in order to get more money out of the houses, the defendants diverted a $32,378 in “seller’s proceeds” to be paid to Kuzmenko of Pete’s Pool Service for repairs and improvements for work never actually done on the property. And $100,000 was paid to Zhiry to pay off a purported second mortgage. These two payments were a means to siphon fraudulently inflated equity out of the two properties.

Kuzmenko was recently indicted in a separate mortgage fraud scheme in this district. (Case No.: 2:11-cr-210-JAM).

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Dominique N. Thomas is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, 10 years in prison for money laundering, and a $250,000 fine. If convicted of bank fraud, Palamarchuk and Bondaruk face a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the arrests.

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Allison Tussey

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