Sacto 9-1-1
September 7, 2011
Two plead guilty in Sacramento mortgage fraud case

By Denny Walsh

Two crooks in a mortgage scam pleaded guilty Tuesday in Sacramento federal court to mail fraud and making false statements on loan applications.

Nicole Dawson of Oakland and Ronald Burris Jr. of Elk Grove were charged in June 2010, along with eight others, in a conspiracy involving Liberty Real Estate and Investment Co. and Liberty Mortgage Co., both owned by co-defendant Hoda Samuel.

The companies were instrumental in purchases of at least 30 homes in the Sacramento area in 2006 and 2007. The dirty deals typically had 100 percent financing based on bogus information regarding the buyers' employment, income, and intent to live in the homes.

At the close of the transactions and unbeknownst to the lenders, cash payments were kicked back to the buyers out of the loan proceeds.

At least 28 of the properties have gone into foreclosure, resulting in a loss to lenders of more than $5 million.

Burris, 38, admitted buying three homes in a two-month period, submitting false loan applications, and receiving a total of approximately $75,000 at the close of the transactions.

Dawson, 41, admitted buying two homes in two months, supplying false loan information, and raking in a total of approximately $64,000 when the deals closed.

The pair are to be sentenced Nov. 15.

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