The following case forms part of Operation Malicious Mortgage and was never the subject of any specific press release by the US Attorney or the FBI nor featured in this or other similar sites. The 9 defendants named below form part of the 36 people mentioned in a very general press release from the FBI and US Attorney. I found it while investigating something else!!.
On June 17, 2008 an indictment was filed in the United States District Court in Arizona charging 9 people with Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, Money Laundering and Aiding and Abetting in relation to allegations of a “cash-back” mortgage fraud scheme.
The alleged scheme involved at least 22 properties which were purchased by straw borrowers and at the closing of each one defendant Daniel Morar received cash-back from the loan funds even though he was not the borrower. The cash-back received from the transactions totaled some $1,515,000 which was shared amongst the defendants with the lions share going to Morar. The scheme was facilitated by an escrow officer, a mortgage broker and the owner of CI Custom Builders.
The properties that were to be part of the scheme were identified from those that were for sale for between $375,000 and $900,000. They then obtained appraisals that “substantially inflated” the fair market value of each one and identified title company’s that would falsify the HUD-1. The sales price in each transaction exceeded the sellers’ asking price by between $69,000 and $180,000.
The Uniform Residential Mortgage Applications (1003’s) used in the scheme misrepresented borrowers income and employment, assets, intent to occupy and other real estate that the borrowers owned. In addition the final HUD-1’s omitted details of the payments to Morar.
Original Press Release
Arizona DFI consent order against Smart Mortgage and Catherine Zebarth
Nevada Secretary of State records for D Contractor Invest, Inc
Arizona Secretary of State records for CI Custom Builders
Daniel Morar – The sole owner of D. Contractor Invest, Inc
Gheorghe Babeti – buyer of 10 properties
Cosmina Bunea – buyer of 11 properties
Dorel Irimiciuc – buyer of 1 property
Samuel Dobos – associate of Morar
Brandon Azadegan – employee of CI Custom Builders and associate of Morar
Cipriano Ionutescu – owner of CI Custom Builders and associate of Bunea
Christina Mejia – escrow officer at Great American Title Agency in Phoenix
Catherine Zebrath – sole owner of Smart Mortgage
Properties mentioned in indictment
6325 E Sweetwater Ave, Scottsdale, AZ
18402 N 75th Ave, Glendale, AZ
6518 W Molly Lane, Phoenix, AZ
6202 W Gambit Trail, Phoenix, AZ
4933 W Fallen Leaf, Glendale, AZ
27929 N 64th Lane, Phoenix, AZ
6224 W Hedgehog Place, Phoenix, AZ
6802 W Briles Road, Peoria, AZ
27838 N 60th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
16942 E Monterrey Drive, Fountain Hills, AZ
38209 N 24th Drive, Phoenix, AZ
26155 N 68th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ
5639 E Thunderbird, Scottsdale, AZ
14858 N El Sobrante Avenue, Fountain Hills, AZ
1001 E Northview, Phoenix, AZ
5549 E Pershing, Phoenix, AZ
6809 W Cottontail, Peoria, AZ
606 W Los Corrales Drive, Desert Hills, AZ
I will update court dates and case progress asap.