Four Indicted in $20 Million Mortgage Scheme

By: Amanda Fehd AP
By: Amanda Fehd AP

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Two real estate agents and a married couple
who ran nursing homes are facing federal charges alleging the four
defrauded several banks of $20 million dollars in a complicated mortgage scheme.

The four face 126 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes.

Nursing home owner Edith Nelson of Pleasant Hill and real estate agent Nelda Asuncion of Concord pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Oakland, according to court filings.

Nelson's husband Ronald Nelson and real estate agent Christeta Lagarejos, both of Pleasant Hill, appeared in court on Friday but did not enter pleas.

The alleged scheme ran between 2002 and 2007 and involved recruiting people to pose as buyers for almost 20 properties, many
of them nursing homes in the suburbs east of San Francisco, according to the indictment.

The real estate agents are accused of obtaining loans for the "straw buyers" using false income and employment information. Federal prosecutors allege the Nelsons recruited many of the buyers and funneled loan money into their own bank accounts.

Along with fraud charges, the Nelsons are accused of income tax evasion and harboring illegal immigrants. They continued to run nursing homes despite losing their state license in 1998, according to the indictment.

Attorneys for the four did not immediately return calls Monday.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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