Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: Whatever happened to Hoda Samuel and the co-defendants in a real estate fraud case? Has this case gone to trial? Have any of the defendants been sentenced.?
Submitted by: Steve, Roseville
ANSWER: According to federal court online records, Hoda Samuel of Elk Grove and five other defendants are scheduled for trial Jan. 17 in Sacramento.
It is alleged that Samuel and others masterminded home purchases from April 2006 through February 2007 with loan applications that lied about incomes and job histories. Their goal, according to the indictment, was to "enrich themselves" with "substantial" loan brokerage and closing fees or with thousands of dollars in kickbacks to buyers after the close of escrow.
The conspiracy allegedly involved Liberty Real Estate and Investment Co. and Liberty Mortgage Co., both owned by Samuel.
According to stories in The Bee, the companies were instrumental in the purchases of at least 30 homes in the Sacramento area in 2006 and 2007. At least 28 of the properties have gone into foreclosure, resulting in a loss to lenders of more than $5 million.
Two people in the case, Nicole Dawson of Oakland and Ronald Burris Jr. of Elk Grove, pleaded guilty in September 2011 to mail fraud and making false statements on loan applications. According to online court records, Burris is to be sentenced Jan. 22 and Dawson's sentencing is set for Feb. 5.
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