After an October 2nd Federal Grand Jury indictment, three Los Angeles area residents were arrested on October 5th after defrauding Bank of America and Fidelity National Title Company out of $1.5 million.
49-year-old Saliya “Sal” DeSilva of Northridge, 50-year-old Nora Yefima of Santa Clarita, and 45-year-old Vahe Hayrapetian of Burbank were arrested for Bank and Wire Fraud over a year after originally pulling off their elaborate scheme.
In July of 2009, the owner of a residential property on Gould Avenue in La Canada-Flintridge defaulted on $3.5 million in loans. The house was foreclosed on, and Bank of America took possession of the property.
In February of 2010, Sal DeSilva allegedly contacted Bank of America posing as the prior owner. He provided the bank with counterfeit documents in order to convince them that the foreclosure was improper. Bank of America complied with the request and rescinded the foreclosure, allowing DeSilva, a licensed real estate salesperson, to list the house for sale without the consent of the true former owner.
Over a year later, in August of 2011, the house was sold in a fraudulent short sale transaction after the suspects provided a title insurance company with false information on the property and a fake Bank of America Short Sale Approval Letter stating that the bank had approved a sales price of $250,000.
The buyer subsequently took out a $1.5 million loan for the “purchase” through Loan Broker Vahe Hayrapetian, the second suspect arrested in this case. In order to secure the loan, Hayrapetian allegedly submitted materially false and fraudulent documents.
The loan money was wired by the lender to Oshana Escrow in Encino. The third suspect, Nora Yefima, the owner of Oshana Escrow, allegedly sent false documents and a small portion of the loan money to the title insurance company for the fraudulent short sale, while disbursing the rest of the loan (which still exceeded $1 million) to several other parties that had nothing to do with the transaction.
The buyer of the property then defaulted on the loan, and since Bank of America never approved the short sale and continues to assert the validity of their $3.5 million in liens, there is insufficient equity in the property to compensate the subsequent lender for their $1.5 million loss. In this case, Fidelity National Title Company may have to reimburse the lender for their loss.
All three suspects have been booked at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles.
Representatives from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department were not immediately available for contract.
Daily News: Northridge, Burbank and Santa Clarita residents arrested in La Canada real-estate scam
SCV News.com: SCV Woman arrested in $1.5 Mil. Real Estate Fraud Scheme
LaCanadaFlintridge Patch: Three Arrested in Real Estate Fraud Scheme