Grand Jury Indicts 4 for Straw Buyer Flipping Scheme

Allison Tussey —  January 6, 2012 — Leave a comment

Yevgeniy Charikov, 40, West Sacramento, California; Vitaliy Tuzman, 40, Citrus Heights, California; Nadia Talybov, 30, Antelope, California; and Juliet Romanishin, 30, West Sacramento, have been indicted and charged with mail fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in losses of at least $710,000 to lenders. Charikov and Tuzman have also been charged with money laundering.

 

According to court records, Charikov, a real estate agent, used straw buyers to purchase properties in a declining real estate market and then immediately re-sold them to another straw buyer at fraudulently inflated prices. In order to qualify for the mortgage loans, the defendants allegedly prepared and submitted fraudulent loan applications to lenders, falsely stating the straw buyer’s income, liabilities, and intent to occupy the home as a primary residence.

The indictment alleges that Charikov first recruited Tuzman and another straw buyer to each purchase a house in West Sacramento using 100 percent financing. Charikov then recruited Talybov to purchase both homes for over $200,000 more than what the properties had sold for only two to three months earlier. Romanishin, a loan officer and Charikov‘s wife, secured the financing for Tuzman‘s purchase and for one of Talybov‘s purchases. After the first set of straw buyers obtained the proceeds from Talybov‘s fraudulent purchases, they allegedly distributed a portion of the proceeds to Charikov. Talybov subsequently defaulted on the loans for both properties.

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the indictment.

This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI and the IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Dominique N. Thomas is prosecuting the case.

If convicted of mail fraud, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted of money laundering, Charikov and Tuzman face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the actual sentences 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.

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Allison Tussey

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