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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Friday, November 14, 2014

Former Crisp & Cole Office Manager Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison

FRESNO, Calif. – United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced Sneha Ramesh Mohammadi, 52, of Bakersfield, to 18 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for her involvement in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that ran from January 2004 to September 2007, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today.  Judge O’Neill also ordered her to join her co-defendants in paying $10,747,073 in restitution.

According to court documents, David Crisp and Carl Cole owned and operated Crisp & Cole Real Estate (CCRE) and Tower Lending, an affiliated mortgage brokerage.  Between January 2004 and September 2007, these defendants and others at CCRE and Tower Lending carried out a scheme to defraud mortgage companies and federally insured financial institutions, in part by using straw purchasers to acquire properties with funds borrowed from lenders based on false and fraudulent loan applications. The properties were nominally owned in the names of the straw buyers, but were controlled by the defendants and CCRE, and held for the benefit of the defendants and CCRE.  According to her plea agreement, Mohammadi, who worked as the office manager at Tower Lending and then as a financial officer at CCRE between March 2005 and April 2007, admitted causing lenders losses of more than $10 million based on her involvement in the conspiracy.  In addition to her role as an employee of CCRE, Mohammadi also admitted purchasing properties as a straw buyer based on false and fraudulent applications and receiving cash payments for acting as a straw buyer, all in furtherance of the conspiracy.

Mohammadi is the last defendant to be sentenced among nine others who were indicted in 2011 for their roles in the Crisp & Cole mortgage fraud scheme.  David Crisp and Carl Cole each were sentenced to 17 years and seven months in prison.  CCRE Chief Operations Officer Julie Farmer, the only defendant who took her case to trial, was sentenced to three years in prison.  Loan officer Jayson Peter Costa was sentenced to six years and six months in prison.  Real estate agent Michael Munoz was sentenced to two years in prison.  Caleb Cole was sentenced to five months in prison.  Jennifer Crisp was sentenced to five years of probation.   Robinson Nguyen has completed his 27-month sentence.

Before Mohammadi and the other Crisp & Cole defendants were indicted, five separate cases were brought, in 2009 and 2010, against five defendants who pleaded guilty to charges relating to the Crisp & Cole scheme.  Jerald Allen Teixeira is scheduled to be sentenced on February 9, 2015.  The sentences for the other defendants are as follows:  Megan Balod – 36 months’ probation; Christopher Lance Stovall – one year in prison; Kevin Patrick Sluga – 20 months in prison; and Leslie Sluga – three years’ probation.

The Crisp & Cole case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirk E. Sherriff, Henry Z. Carbajal III, and Christopher D. Baker.

This case was investigated and prosecuted in coordination with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed nearly 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:11-cr-0026 LJO
Updated April 8, 2015