Federal Jury Convicts Vallejo Woman of Bankruptcy and Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Defendant Used Illegal Property Transfer and Fraudulent Mortgage Application to Drain More Than $147,000 in Equity from Residence in Bankruptcy Proceeding
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 20, 2013|
SAN JOSE, CA—A federal jury convicted Vallejo resident Myra Holmes yesterday of one count of bankruptcy fraud, one count of bank fraud, and three counts of making a false statement to a bank, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. The guilty verdict followed a three-week trial before U.S. District Court Judge Edward J. Davila. The jury acquitted Myra Holmes on two other false statement counts.
Evidence at trial showed that Holmes, 55, enriched herself by knowingly receiving from her father his half-interest in a Vallejo residence in which she lived. Holmes knew at the time she received this property that her father had previously declared bankruptcy and that, as a result, his half-interest in the Vallejo property now belonged to his Chapter 7 bankruptcy estate. Holmes took this half-interest in the Vallejo property without paying anything to the bankruptcy estate and also without notifying or obtaining the permission of the United States Bankruptcy Court or the bankruptcy trustee. After Holmes received her father’s half-interest in the Vallejo property, she drained the equity from the property through a fraudulent refinancing mortgage loan application. The jury found that Holmes falsely told World Savings Bank in her refinancing mortgage applications: (1) that she earned $15,000 a month; (2) that she had a bank account balance of $15,000; and (3) that she was not a party to a lawsuit. Evidence at trial showed that Holmes knew at the time she filed her refinancing mortgage applications that she was overstating her monthly income and account balance and also knew that the bankruptcy trustee had recently filed a lawsuit against her seeking to recover the bankruptcy estate’s half-interest in the Vallejo property.
As a result of her bankruptcy fraud and mortgage fraud, Holmes received approximately $147,000 directly and arranged for personal debts to be paid (including her debts to Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, and Spiegel). By the end of April 2006, Holmes had spent on personal expenses (including gambling and shopping) all the approximately $147,000 that she had fraudulently received as a result of the November 2005 refinancing of the Vallejo property. To date, Holmes has not repaid the bankruptcy estate for the funds she took out of the Vallejo property in the November 2005 refinancing.
Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced on July 1, 2013, before Judge Davila in San Jose. Judge Davila ordered that Holmes remain out of custody pending sentencing on a co-signed $50,000 release bond.
The maximum statutory penalty for 18 U.S.C. § 152(5)-bankruptcy fraud/concealment of assets is five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and restitution. The maximum statutory penalty for 18 U.S.C. § 1344-bank fraud and 18 U.S.C. 1014-making a false statement to a bank is 30 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, and restitution. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fazioli and Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant Fondo are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Paralegal Specialist Lakisha Holliman and Legal Assistants Laurie Worthen and Kamille Singh. This prosecution is the result of a multi-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Web site at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.