Oudom Somee, 46, currently in custody, but most recently a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, who used friends and family members to serve as straw buyers to fraudulently purchase homes so he could skim part of the loan proceeds for himself, has been sentenced to 51 months in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $1.3 million in restitution.
The defendant was sentenced on Monday, July 22, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Miranda M. Du. Somee was convicted by a jury in November 2012 of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud; eight counts of wire fraud; one count of bank fraud; and one count of mail fraud.
Somee and his co-conspirators recruited persons with high credit scores, often friends and family members, to purchase homes in the Las Vegas area, which Somee would control. Somee told these straw purchasers that he would use their names and credit to buy the houses and that they would not have to pay the mortgages. Somee and the co-conspirators prepared the paperwork and submitted the loan applications to the financial institutions. These applications and the supporting documentation contained materially false and fraudulent information concerning the applicant’s identity, income, assets, and intent to occupy the homes to ensure that the straw buyers would qualify for the mortgage loans. Somee orchestrated the transactions for the purpose of receiving cash at the closing of the transactions. The cash was disbursed either to Somee personally or to his company, Vegas Golden Investments Inc. Somee tried to conceal his role in the scheme by using bank accounts belonging to fictitious entities and others, including his sister. Eight homes were purchased in Henderson and Las Vegas, Nevada, using this scheme. The homes generally went into foreclosure after Somee made a few mortgage payments. The losses to the financial institutions were over $2.6 million.
A loan officer and escrow officer were also charged and convicted in the scheme.
Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, announced the sentence.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel R. Schiess and Sarah E. Griswold.