Man Sentenced to Prison for Mortgage Fraud-Related Crimes
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 23, 2013|
LAS VEGAS—A local man who used friends and family members to serve as straw buyers to fraudulently purchase homes in the Las Vegas area 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, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Oudom Somee, 46, currently in custody, but most recently a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, 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.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel R. Schiess and Sarah E. Griswold.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.