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Eight Defendants Charged in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A federal grand jury returned an indictment on Sept. 28, 2011, charging Valeri Mysin, 31, of Citrus Heights, Calif.; Angela Shavlovsky, 52, of Sacramento, Calif.; Nikolay Katinskiy, 28, of Lynwood, Wash.; Michael Kennedy, 44, of Miami Beach, Fla.; Alexander Kokhanets, 34, of Roseville, Calif.; Boris Murzak, 38, and Zinaida Murzak, 40, both of Sacramento; and Vitaliy Tuzman, 31, of West Sacramento, Calif., with conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme involving the purchase of seven homes.

Katinsky and Kennedy were also charged with money laundering in connection with the scheme, announced U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin B. Wagner. Shavlovsky, Katinskiy, and Kennedy were arrested by FBI agents yesterday afternoon, and Kokhanets, Boris Murzak, and Zinaida Murzak were issued a summons. They are expected to be arraigned before the U.S. Magistrate judge today at 2:00 p.m.

How the scheme worked

According to court records, the mortgage fraud scheme involved purchasing homes at prices substantially higher than the homes were worth in order for the defendants to receive cash at the close of escrow. The indictment alleges that Shavlovsky recruited Katinsky and Kennedy to act as straw buyers and finance 100 percent of the artificially inflated purchase price of homes by submitting fraudulent loan applications to lenders, which falsely represented Katinsky’s and Kennedy’s employment, income, and intent to occupy the homes as their primary residence.

According to the indictment, Mysin, a licensed California real estate agent, prepared the phony applications and attempted to disguise his involvement with these fraudulent loans by making it appear that another loan officer in his office had handled them. Kokhanets, Boris Murzak, Zinaida Murzak, and Tuzman were homeowners who allegedly sold their properties as part of this scheme. In order to artificially inflate the sales price of their homes, Kokhanets, Tuzman, and the Murzaks are alleged to have signed fake invoices falsely claiming that repairs or improvements had been completed on their properties. After the lenders funded the fraudulent loans, the defendants diverted a portion of the proceeds from the inflated sales price directly to themselves and to businesses controlled by the defendants and others. All seven properties were foreclosed, resulting in more than $1.8 million in losses for mortgage lenders.

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