Judge sentences Issaquah couple in mortgage fraud case

December 22, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 2:58 p.m. Dec. 22, 2009

Issaquah real estate agent David Sobol and his wife, Alla Sobol, were sentenced to two years in prison for involvement in the largest mortgage-fraud case in state history, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced last week.

Agents arrested the Sobols and five others in late March after a wide-ranging investigation into a $47 million mortgage fraud scheme.

The leader in the mortgage scheme, Bellevue resident Vladislav Baydovskiy, was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

“You went from one scheme to the next,” U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said during the sentencing hearing. “When you saw regulators closing in you opened the next.”

The case included several other people involved with three Bellevue companies: Emerald City Escrow, Nationwide Home Lending, and Kobay Financial Corp.

Vladislav Baydovskiy’s wife, Bellevue resident Donata Baydovskiy, 28, pleaded guilty to making a false statement in a matter occurring before the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Donata Baydovskiy, a part owner of Emerald City Escrow, was sentenced Dec. 18 to time served — about 265 days — and two months of electronic home detention.

Renton resident Camie Byron, 28, also pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to two years in prison. Shoreline resident Sandra Thorpe, 55, was sentenced to probation and 200 hours of community service. Authorities said Thorpe falsified income statements and employment verification letters.

Federal Way resident Viktor Kobzar, 32, will be sentenced Jan. 8. In October, Kobzar became the last defendant to plead guilty in the case. Kobzar faces up to eight years in prison and up to $350,000 in fines.

The court will hold a restitution hearing Jan. 29 to determine how much money the defendants will be required to pay victims in the scheme.

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

Authorities said Nationwide and Kobay employees prepared and submitted falsified loan applications and verification documents to lenders. 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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