Crime - Sacto 911

Six people convicted in Sacramento-area mortgage fraud scheme

A 12-day federal court trial in Sacramento ended Wednesday with six people convicted of wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme.

Irina Markevich, 30, of Rio Linda; Anatoliy Markevich, 35, of Sacramento; abd Marina Pukhkan, 53, of Rio Linda were each convicted of two counts of wire fraud, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release. Daniil Markevich, 38, and his wife, Svetlana Markevich, 38, both of Escondido, and Alex Markevich, 40, of Rio Linda were each convicted of one count of wire fraud.

The six defendants served as straw buyers for homes in the Sacramento area. According to evidence presented during the trial, between February 2007 and March 2008, each obtained home loans using fraudulent loan applications and related documents that contained false information about their income, assets, bank accounts and intent to occupy the residences. The proceeds of the fraud scheme were derived from inflated purchase prices and payments for fake construction work that never took place.

In all, the defendants obtained more than $5 million in home loans for six properties in Roseville, Sacramento and West Sacramento. They made only three to six payments before letting the loans go into default, authorities said. Although their loan applications claimed that they individually made approximately $190,000 to $426,000 per year, the defendants’ tax returns showed they made only between about $3,000 and $22,000 in 2007, the year they purchased the homes.

Each of the properties was foreclosed upon within about one year of the purchase date.

For acting as straw buyers in the mortgage fraud scheme, the defendants collectively received hundreds of thousands of dollars and used the proceeds to purchase such things as a Lincoln Navigator and a limousine. The total fraud proceeds that they, other family members and other participants in the scheme received exceeded $700,000, authorities said.

All six defendants are to be sentenced Aug. 11 by U.S. District Judge John A Mendez.

The case resulted from an investigation by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.