Real estate scammers sentenced to prison

Ruse nets them between $7 million and $20 million

Ramona real estate agent Teresa Rose is headed to prison over her involvement in a multimillion-dollar loan scam, Courthouse News Service is reporting.

Rose was among three people facing federal indictment last May, though the total number of people charged eventually grew to six.

The group's ruse involved Rose advertising "investment" properties that could be purchased by straw buyers without a down payment, with alleged rental proceeds covering the mortgage payments. Those buyers, including Justin Mensen, who helped recruit others and launder funds, received a payout of $10,000 at the close of escrow from the group.

Fraudulent loan applications were passed from Rose to unlicensed loan broker Mary Armstrong and her assistant William Fountain, who got Los Angeles-based tax preparer Audrey Yeboah to help create phony documents validating bogus job and income claims that were presented to a lender's loan processor and fellow conspirator John Allen.

All six scammers entered guilty pleas, admitting to acquiring more than $100 million worth of fraudulent loans, skimming millions in fake construction costs as well as real estate and loan commissions on each deal. The loss to lenders and their institutional backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is estimated at between $7 million and $20 million.

Rose faces a 15-month federal prison sentence as well as $500,000 in restitution. Armstrong, the ringleader, accepted a 100-month sentence, the harshest of the group.

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