LAS VEGAS -- A jury last week convicted a Louisiana lawyer of being involved in a mortgage fraud scheme in Las Vegas that encompassed more than 220 properties and $50 million in losses to financial institutions, Nevada's U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said Monday.
David Mark, 37, of New Orleans, was convicted Thursday of one count of conspiracy to commit bank, wire and mail fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of mail fraud. Mark is free on a personal recognizance bond, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Philip Pro on July 29.
Mark faces up to 30 years in prison on the conspiracy and bank fraud counts, and up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud count. He also faces fines of up to $1 million on the conspiracy and bank fraud counts and up to $250,000 on the mail fraud count.
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Mark was employed as a real estate agent and transaction coordinator at Distinctive Real Estate and Investments. The company was owned and operated by co-conspirator Eve Mazzarella, who was convicted of fraud in 2011 and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
From March 2006 to December 2007, Mark allegedly solicited persons with good credit to act as straw buyers to purchase homes in the Las Vegas area. He made arrangements to purchase the homes above the sellers' asking prices, and allowed the excess funds to be redirected to businesses controlled by alleged fellow conspirators under the pretense that they would make upgrades or perform repairs to the properties.
Mark allegedly caused the straw buyers to apply for mortgage loans for the homes, knowing that they could not afford -- and did not intend to make -- the mortgage payments. He also allegedly caused false information concerning income, employment, assets, liabilities, and intent to occupy the homes to be placed in the straw buyers' loan applications.
Mark was accused of causing the financial institutions and escrow and title companies to make third party disbursements to shell companies controlled by alleged fellow conspirators who had an interest in the transactions. The conspirators were also accused of defaulting on the mortgage payments, causing the properties to go into foreclosure
The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Pugh and Sarah Griswold.