Louisiana Lawyer Sentenced in Nevada for Straw Buyer Scheme

Allison Tussey —  October 31, 2013 — 1 Comment

David M. Mark, 37, New Orleans, Louisiana, a lawyer who worked in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a real estate agent, was sentenced to three years in prison for his conviction on conspiracy and fraud charges related to his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme involving hundreds of Las Vegas homes and more than $50 million in losses.

The defendant was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro. A jury convicted Mark on April 11, 2013, of one count of conspiracy to commit bank, wire and mail fraud; two counts of bank fraud; and one count of mail fraud. Mark is free on a personal recognizance bond and must report to federal prison by Jan. 31, 2014.

According to the indictment and evidence presented to the jury during the trial, Mark was employed as a real estate agent and transaction coordinator at Distinctive Real Estate and Investments, a company owned and operated by co-conspirator Eve Mazzarella who was convicted of fraud in December 2011 and sentenced to 14 years in prison. From about March 2006 to December 2007, Mark solicited persons with good credit to act as straw buyers to purchase homes in the Las Vegas area.

Mark made arrangements to purchase the homes above the sellers’ asking prices, and made arrangements for the excess funds to be redirected to business entities controlled by his coconspirators under the pretense that they would make upgrades or perform repairs to the properties. Mark caused the straw buyers to apply for mortgage loans for the homes, knowing that the straw buyers could not afford and did not intent to make the mortgage payments. Mark caused false information concerning income, employment, assets, liabilities, and intent to occupy the homes to be placed in the straw buyers’ loan applications.

Once the mortgage loans were approved by the financial institutions, Mark caused the financial institutions and escrow and title companies to make third party disbursements to shell companies controlled by his coconspirators who had an interest in the transactions. Mark’s coconspirators defaulted on the mortgage payments causing the properties to go into foreclosure and causing losses to the financial institutions of more than $50 million.

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 Brian Pugh and Sarah E. Griswold.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has been working diligently with its law enforcement partners since the mid-2000’s to investigate and prosecute hundreds of persons who took advantage of their positions of trust to commit mortgage fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “The harm to the community has been enormous, and we hope that the prison sentences that have been imposed have sent a message to others that this type of crime will not be tolerated.”

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Allison Tussey

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One response to Louisiana Lawyer Sentenced in Nevada for Straw Buyer Scheme

  1. 3 years! That seems pretty lenient for fraud of this scale

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