SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 5 for the head of two San Diego-based mortgage investment firms for his guilty plea to paying $1 million in bribes to bank insiders to secure bids to purchase mortgage loans that were then sold on the secondary market.
Israel Hechter, owner of Ocean 18 LLC and Note Tracker Corp., admitted Friday in federal court to paying off workers at J.P. Morgan Chase, GMAC Mortgage, LLC, and National City Bank so they would favor him by altering some bids, rejecting others and erasing or ignoring still others from qualified competitors.
The bankers also rigged bidding by supplying Hechter, 47, with confidential information about prices and competing bids, according to prosecutors.
"Individuals and corrupt bank employees who attempt to tilt this playing field for their own advantage cannot be tolerated," Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Halpern told the court.
According to his plea agreement, Hechter and co-conspirators tried to cover up the bribes by pretending that they were legitimate commissions unrelated to the bankers' positions with the banks, and by using a phony "consulting agreement," a sham business and a corresponding bank account to disguise the illicit payments.
Many of the loans at issue were non-performing or distressed second mortgages. Hechter pooled them and sold shares to investors, usually friends and family members, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego.
After purchase, Ocean 18 LLC would service the loans and collect monthly payments from the borrowers, or would initiate foreclosure proceedings when the borrowers defaulted. The investors made money when borrowers made payments, sold the properties, or after foreclosure and resale.
Hechter's 42-year-old brother, Amir, and business associate, Jack Prober, 56, pleaded guilty Wednesday to participating in the conspiracy. Both admitted writing personal checks to bankers to help them evade taxes on the illegal income.
The sibling co-defendants' father, 68-year-old Zeev Hechter, pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking part in the scheme by hand-delivering about $330,000 in cash to GMAC banker Robert Moreno. Moreno, 42, allegedly would meet with Zeev Hechter on New York City street corners and visit him at the latter's carwash to launder the bribes.
Amir Hechter, Zeev Hechter and Prober are also scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 5.
Moreno was arrested July 15 for his alleged role in the conspiracy. His trial has not been scheduled.
Harvest for Hope aims to raise money for low-income, underprivileged families whose children are battling cancer.
The co-creators and stars of Beyond Babel are husband and wife pair from Carlsbad, Keone and Mari Madrid.
San Diego officials and residents will hold commemorative events around the county Tuesday on the 40th anniversary of the Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 182 crash.
The 14th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week returns Sunday, September 23rd, through Sunday, September 30th, for an edible extravaganza to start your fall season!
The latest round of tainted ground beef due to possible E. coli contamination was possibly sold at Safeway, Target, and Sam's Club stores nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
September 25, 1978 is a date imprinted in the memories of many San Diegans. Those that lived here – and elsewhere – remember the shocking images of plane wreckage on fire and homes ablaze following the crash of PSA Flight 182, which was 40 years ago Tuesday.
Last week, News 8 introduced you to Jeffrey Dilallo, the owner of El Cajon’s The Grand who banned certain motorcycle clubs he said violated his ‘no weapons’ policy.
The family of a surfer from Carlsbad who went missing in Mexico is holding out hope that he will be found safe.