In the following press release United States Attorney Karen P. Hewitt announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging twenty-four individuals with Conspiracy to Conduct Enterprise Affairs Through a Pattern of Racketeering Activity (RICO). Specifically, the defendants are charged with using a corrupt enterprise to conduct a pattern of racketeering activity, namely, wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. The charged racketeering activity all stems from an extensive mortgage fraud scheme based in San Diego, California, that involved 220 properties with a total sales price of more than $100 million dollars.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd W. Robinson and Nicole Acton Jones, who are prosecuting the case, the lead defendants charged with running the corrupt enterprise are: Darnell Bell, aka D-Bell, Michael Ivy, Stanley Gentry and Billie Bishop. The indictment alleges that Darnell Bell, a documented member of the Lincoln Park street gang, was the leader of the corrupt enterprise and that he received at least $9 million in proceeds from the racketeering conspiracy. Michael Ivy was primarily responsible for negotiating the purchase of real estate on behalf of the enterprise. Stanley Gentry, a licensed real estate broker, allowed the corrupt enterprise to use his broker’s license to facilitate the fraudulent purchase of property in exchange for a $10,000 monthly payment and a percentage of the real estate commission and broker’s fees associated with each fraudulent purchase. Billie Bishop was an escrow officer who facilitated the fraudulent purchase of more than 100 properties on behalf of the enterprise.
The indictment [click here - 3mb] alleges that the defendants devised a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders and to obtain money and property by false and fraudulent means. According to the indictment, between January 2005 and at least April 2008, the defendants used multiple real estate businesses, including the Ivy House, Inc., the Real Estate Center of Southern California, and the Real Estate Center of La Mesa, to facilitate the fraudulent purchase of real estate. In general terms, the scheme charged in the indictment worked as follows:
The indictment also charges that several real estate professionals were members of the racketeering conspiracy, including: Diana Jaime, a public notary, Jorge Cortez, a licensed real estate agent, Esteban Valenzuela, a licensed real estate appraiser, Anton Ewing, a Certified Public Accountant, and Randolph Hirsch and Dennis Tapia, registered tax preparers. Latashia McKinney and Marcus Dozzell, aka Kali, recruited individuals to obtain fraudulent mortgage loans and purchase properties on behalf of the corrupt enterprise. Lorena Callu was employed by the corrupt enterprise and facilitated the fraudulent purchase of real estate by, among other things, preparing and submitting false loan applications.
Desiree Holiday, Dexter Holiday, Keith Holiday, Gerard Holiday, Ray Logan, aka Jack Nasty, David Lewis, Joseph Lewis, Stevie Frazier, Jorge Magana, Nicoele Watson and Daniel Williams are all alleged to have fraudulently obtained mortgage loans and purchased properties on behalf of the corrupt enterprise.
This case is the product of an investigation by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and
Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.
United States Attorney Hewitt said, “This indictment represents the largest mortgage fraud case ever prosecuted in the history of the Southern District of California. Although this case marks an important milestone for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the IRS, we have much additional investigative work ahead of us to hold accountable those individuals who engaged in similar mortgage fraud schemes throughout San Diego and Imperial counties.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter commented, “The individuals charged in this indictment have one thing in common: greed. They represent precisely those who have undermined our country’s financial system by perpetuating such egregious schemes. The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain vigilant and will pursue those who engage in this type of criminal activity. The extent to which this group of people went to defraud lenders should also serve as a warning to the public. We urge people to come forward with information of suspicious activities they may encounter when engaged in real estate and mortgage transactions.”
“Today’s indictment of this criminal enterprise spearheaded by Darnell Bell speaks volumes to those who choose to engage in organized criminal activity that undermines the financial health of our communities,” said Thomas J. Holloman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Los Angeles Field Office. “The racketeering, forfeiture, and money laundering charges are indicative of the jointagency law enforcement effort that has focused on dismantling this criminal organization that has grossly profited from mortgage fraud.”
Darnell Bell was arraigned on the indictment earlier today. Twenty-three individuals were arrested by agents of the FBI and IRS earlier today and are expected to make their initial appearances on April 8.
DEFENDANTS for Case No. 09CR1209-H
Darnell Bell, aka D-Bell Age: 38 Chula Vista, California; currently in federal custody serving a sentence for the distribution of cocaine
Michael Ivy Age: 43 San Diego, California
Stanley Gentry Age: 49 San Diego, California
Billie Bishop Age: 49 La Mesa, California
Diana Jaime Age: 33 Chula Vista, California
Latashia McKinney Age: 35 Texas
Marcus Dozzell, aka Kali Age: 34 Las Vegas, Nevada
Jorge Cortez Age: 39 Chula Vista, California
Esteban Valenzuela Age: 28 Sun City, California
Lorena Callu Age: 52 Chula Vista, California
Anton Ewing Age: 38 Rancho Santa Fe, California
Randolph Hirsch Age: 43 Van Nuys, California
Dennis Tapia Age: 49 Oceanside, California
Desiree Holiday Age: 34 Chula Vista, California
Dexter Holiday Age: 35 San Marcos, California
Keith Holiday Age: 50 Ramona, California
Ray Logan, aka Jack Nasty Age: 39 Spring Valley, California
David Lewis Age: 44 Chula Vista, California
Joseph Lewis Age: 43 San Diego, California
Gerard Holiday Age: 25 El Cajon, California
Stevie Frazier Age: 38 Spring Valley, California
Jorge Magana Age: 58 National City, California
Nicoele Watson Age: 28 San Diego, California
Daniel Williams Age: 34 San Diego, California
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d) - Conspiracy to Conduct Enterprise Affairs Through a pattern of Racketeering Activity; Title 18, United States Code, Section 1963 - Criminal Forfeiture
The charged pattern of racketeering activity includes violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 (Wire Fraud); Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344 (Bank Fraud); Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956(h) and 1957 (Conspiracy to Launder Money); Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957 (Money Laundering) Maximum Penalties: 20 years’ incarceration, a fine of $250,000, three years of supervised release.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation
An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the Government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.