Issaquah real estate agent, wife face prison in mortgage fraud case

October 8, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 11:15 p.m. Oct. 8, 2009

The last of seven people charged in a $47 million mortgage fraud scheme pleaded guilty Oct. 2. Federal authorities said the scheme included Issaquah real estate agent David Sobol, 40, and his wife, Alla Sobol, 28.

Agents arrested the Sobols and five others in late March after a wide-ranging investigation into the largest mortgage-fraud case in state history.

Federal Way resident Viktor Kobzar, 32, was the last defendant to plead guilty in the case. Kobzar pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Kobzar faces up to eight years in prison and up to $350,000 in fines when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman. Kobzar will be sentenced Jan. 8.

Bellevue resident Donata Baydovskiy, 28, a part owner of Emerald City Escrow, faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced Dec. 18. Her husband, Vladislav Baydovskiy, 31, a mortgage broker, will be sentenced Jan. 8. He faces up to eight years in prison and up to $350,000 in fines.

The other defendants also pleaded guilty, and face up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines when sentenced Dec. 4. Besides the Sobols, the defendants include Renton resident Camie Byron, 28, and Shoreline resident Sandra Thorpe, 55.

The defendants agreed to forfeit $2.5 million and several luxury vehicles, including a 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo, a 2006 BMW 750 and a 2002 BMW X5. The defendants will also be required by the court to pay restitution.

The defendants were involved with three Bellevue companies: Emerald City Escrow, Nationwide Home Lending, and Kobay Financial Corp.

Nationwide and Kobay employees prepared and submitted falsified loan applications and verification documents to lenders. Authorities said the employees concealed information about buyers who were unqualified for loans. Lenders extended loans based on the falsified documents. Authorities said the loans exceeded the value of the property and the ability of borrowers to repay.

Emerald City employees then disbursed excess loan proceeds from the escrow accounts to themselves and their associates.

Investigators reviewed 78 loan files submitted by Nationwide and Kobay to lending institutions; 69 of those files contained fraudulent information, according to the affidavit.

David Sobol and others purchased houses and “flipped” the properties to obtain money from lenders. David Sobol purchased a Newcastle house for $669,950 in August 2007, according to the indictment. A month later, he sold the property to co-defendant Byron, a loan officer for Kobay and Nationwide. Authorities said Alla Sobol was a part owner of Nationwide.

Authorities said Byron used falsified loan applications to obtain two loans worth about $900,000 for the property. She sold the property to another straw buyer for $1.4 million in November 2007.

A loan application submitted by the straw buyer inflated his or her income to meet the lending requirements. The application said the November 2007 buyer earned more than $324,000 in 2005 and $385,000 in 2006. But the buyer reported income to the IRS of $13,245 in 2005 and $16,600 the following year.

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