Las Vegas Real Estate Agent Gets Prison Term - 8 News NOW

Las Vegas Real Estate Agent Gets Prison Term

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LAS VEGAS -- A federal judge sentenced a Las Vegas real estate agent Wednesday to 70 months in prison for participating in a scheme that netted more than $10 million in fraudulent mortgage loans, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said in a joint announcement with other federal authorities.

Linda Marie Kot, 58, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson to forfeit $3,891,811.

A federal jury in May found Kot guilty of three counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Kot participated in a scheme with members of an investment group to submit fraudulent loan documents to lenders that involved "straw buyers." The straw buyers were individuals with good credit scores whose names were put on properties but who were not intended to be responsible for the payment of the mortgages or related expenses. The scheme took place in 2006 and involved 13 new home purchases, three existing home sales and numerous loan applications that were not approved.

Kot and her co-conspirators allegedly caused misstatements to be placed on loan applications, including information about the true owners and controllers of the properties; whether the properties would be primary residences; and the level of assets and income of the straw buyers. In some cases, Kot allegedly put straw buyers on her bank account to help them qualify for mortgage loans for which they otherwise would not have been eligible. Kot made more than $276,000 in commissions on the fraudulent sales, the evidence at trial showed.

One of the conviction counts involved a similar scheme that Kot engaged in with members of her family from 2005 to 2006. The evidence at trial showed that Kot and members of her family used straw buyers and fraudulent loan applications to buy properties. Kot and members of her family paid the straw buyer fees, and any profits on sale of the houses were split among family members.

While Kot and her family members were able to sell most of the properties they bought with straw buyers before the market downturn, the investment group she conspired with was not able to do so, according to evidence presented at trial. Most of the mortgages for the houses that the investment group bought in 2006, where Kot acted as the realtor, ended up in default and foreclosure, with many of the straw buyers ending up in bankruptcy.

Three co-conspirators, Hugo Coutelin, Jeff Thomas and Michael Perry, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the fraud scheme. In September, Coutelin and Perry were each sentenced to 15 months in prison and Thomas was sentenced to time served.

This case was investigated by the FBI. Trial attorneys Nicholas Acker and Fred Medick of the fraud section in the Justice Department's Criminal Division prosecuted the case, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Nevada. Fraud section trial attorney Brian Young and former fraud section trial attorneys Matt Klecka and Joseph Capone also assisted with the investigation.


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