Louisiana Lawyer Sentenced to Prison for Role in Mortgage Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 30, 2013|
LAS VEGAS—A lawyer from Louisiana who worked locally as a real estate agent, was sentenced today 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, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
David M. Mark, 37, of New Orleans, Louisiana, 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 January 31, 2014.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has been working diligently with its law enforcement partners since the mid-2000s 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.”
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 co-conspirators 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 co-conspirators who had an interest in the transactions. Mark’s co-conspirators defaulted on the mortgage payments causing the properties to go into foreclosure and causing losses to the financial institutions of more than $50 million.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Pugh and Sarah E. Griswold.
This case was handled in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established 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 nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.