Father and son sentenced for $9.3m mortgage fraud scheme

by Francis Monfort12 Nov 2018

Three people from California have been sentenced for crimes related to a mortgage fraud scheme that procured more than $9.3 million in residential mortgage loans, according to an announcement by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.

Surjit Singh and his son, Rajeshwar Singh, were each sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison on charges of mail fraud, bank fraud, and false statements on loan and credit applications. Anita Sharma was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison on similar charges.

Surjit Singh was ordered to pay a $2 million fine, $698,787 in restitution, and $847,000 in forfeiture. Rajeshwar Singh was ordered to pay a $1 million fine, $928,287 in restitution, and $838,399 in forfeiture. Sharma was ordered to pay $603,180 in restitution and $30,000 in forfeiture.

In 2006 and 2007, Surjit Singh recruited people with good credit to act as straw buyers for residential properties owned by his family members and associates. Rajeshwar Singh, a licensed real estate agent, assisted in the scheme by submitting loan applications for the straw buyers. Sharma was one of the straw buyers.

Since the straw buyers could not actually afford the homes, the Singhs submitted fraudulent loan applications and supporting material to lending institutions that included false statements about the buyers’ income, employment, liabilities, and intent to occupy the homes as their primary residences.

The scheme involved at least 14 properties, all of which were ultimately either foreclosed upon or sold in a short sale.

Surjit Singh is already in custody. Rajeshwar Singh and Sharma are scheduled to self‑surrender in January.