Jury Convicts San Francisco Broker And Investor Victor Makras For Fraud In Real Estate Loan
SAN FRANCISCO – A federal jury today convicted Victor Makras, a prominent San Francisco real estate broker and investor, of making false statements to a bank and of bank fraud tied to fraudulent representations made in a mortgage refinance loan application, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan, and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Mark H. Pearson. The verdict follows a two-week trial before United States Chief District Judge Richard Seeborg.
Victor Makras, 64, of San Francisco, was charged in a superseding indictment filed on May 31, 2022. The four criminal counts related to a mortgage refinance loan obtained by an associate of Makras and the associate’s wife. Those four counts charged Makras with conspiring to make a false statement to a bank; making false statements to a bank; conspiring to commit bank fraud; and bank fraud.
The jury convicted Makras of two counts: making false statements to a bank and bank fraud. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the other two counts: conspiracy to make false statements to a bank and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Trial evidence showed that Makras defrauded Quicken Loans, a financial lending institution, in a $1.3 million real estate mortgage loan secured by property owned by the Makras associate, who was the borrower on the loan. In the application for the $1.3 million loan, Makras represented to Quicken Loans a falsely inflated debt amount of $915,000 that Makras claimed the borrower owed to Makras and his investors. The falsely inflated debt allowed the borrower to conceal other debts from Quicken. The other outstanding debts included over $89,000 owed to a contractor for extensive remodel work on the property that was provided to the borrower without contemporaneous billing. Another debt concealed from the company was a $70,000 unsecured personal loan made by Makras to the borrower.
In summary, the evidence showed that Makras made false representations on the loan application that the borrower was indebted to Makras in an inaccurate, inflated amount of $915,000, concealing from Quicken the construction debt and the personal loan.
The federal jury today convicted Makras of one count of making false statements to a bank in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1014, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 30 years imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine. The jury also convicted Makras of one count of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1344(1), (2), which carries a maximum possible penalty of 30 years imprisonment and a fine of $1,000,000 or not more than the greater of twice the gross gain or gross loss. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after its consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Makras remains out of custody pending sentencing. No future date has yet been set.
The charges contained in the superseding indictment against the co-defendant of Makras, and the charges on which the jury did not reach a verdict, remain only allegations. As in any criminal case, a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Ward and Zachary Abrahamson prosecuted the case at trial with the assistance of Veronica Hernandez and Tina Rosenbaum. The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
This case is part of a larger federal investigation targeting public corruption in the City and County of San Francisco. To date, twelve individuals have been charged, including high-ranking San Francisco public official Mohammed Nuru who was sentenced yesterday to seven years in federal prison. Multiple city contractors and facilitators have also been charged.