A Sacramento man has pleaded guilty to his role in a mortgage fraud scheme that involved 24 residential properties.
Anatoliy Azarov, 33, pleaded guilty to mail fraud Wednesday in federal court in Sacramento, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.
Court documents indicate that beginning in March 2007 and continuing through June 2008, Azarov and a co-conspirator, Vadim Vilchitsa, 32, solicited funds from investors to buy residential properties, renovate them and flip them. The operation was successful before the financial crisis, but when real estate values plummeted, they were unable to sell the inventory of homes.
Azarov and Vilchitsa persuaded their investors to purchase the inventory of properties at inflated prices and used the excess funds as working capital to continue their business. The two coordinated the purchases of 24 residential properties, although they knew the investors buying them did not have the income or assets to support the loans for the properties, authorities said.
The loans were obtained through a third co-conspirator, Yevgeniy Y. Zazhitskiy, 39, a licensed real estate agent and broker who worked as a loan officer. Although Zazhitskiy knew the loan applicants’ purported incomes and assets were false, he obtained loans for 23 of the 24 properties involved, authorities said.
Vilchitsa and Zazhitsky were charged in related cases and pleaded guilty. In December 2013, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller sentenced Vilchitsa to 15 months in prison and Zazchitskiy to 20 months in prison.
Azarov is to be sentenced by Judge Mueller on May 27.
The case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the FBI.
Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.