Residents of Santa Clarita, Burbank and Northridge arrested in real – estate scam
Three people have been arrested and charged with defrauding the Bank of America by convincing the bank that it had improperly foreclosed on a house which has cost the bank and a title company $1.5 million.
Saliya “Sal” DeSilva, 49, of Northridge, Vahe Hayrapetian, 45, of Burbank, and Nora Yefima, 50, of Santa Clarita were arrested Friday at their homes by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s real estate fraud team, according to a department statement.
In July 2009, the owner of a residential property on Gould Avenue in La Cañada-Flintridge defaulted on $3.5 million in loans. The property was then foreclosed on and possession was taken over Bank of America.
In 2010 one of the suspects, DeSilva, posed as the previous owner and presented the bank with counterfeit documents making the bank see the foreclosure on the property as improper, according to a statement made by the department.
Bank of America canceled the foreclosure and DeSilva, a licensed real estate salesperson, put the listing up for sale without the knowledge or consent of the owner.
In August 2011, the property was sold in a fraudulent short sale after a title insurance company had been given false information about the condition of the property. In addition, the company was given counterfeit documents that included a fake Bank of America Short Sale Approval Letter that said that Bank of America had approved a sales price of $250,000.
According to the department statement, the buyer used Hayrapetian, a loan broker, to get a $1.5 million loan to “purchase.” The money was transferred by the lender to Oshana Escrow, which was owned by Yefima in Encino.
The sheriff’s detectives believe that Hayrapetian gave materially false and fraudulent documents to the lender to secure the loan. The detectives also believe that Yefima sent false documents to Fidelity National Title Company, wire transferred a fairly small portion of the loan funds to the title insurance company for the fraudulent short sale, and then gave out the rest of the funds, an amount exceeding $1 million, to several other people who had nothing to do with the transaction.
The buyer then defaulted on the loan. As Bank of America never approved the short sale and still asserts the validity of their $3.5 million in liens, there was not enough equity to compensate the subsequent lender for their $1.5 million loss.
Fidelity National Title Company insured the lender and may have to reimburse them for the loss.
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