20 Aug 2014
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San Mateo Man Among 9 Indicted for Mortgage Scheme

Edward Khalfin, a San Mateo-based licensed mortgage broker, is accused of submitting falsified loan applications for 'straw buyers' for at least 19 homes in California.

San Mateo Man Among 9 Indicted for Mortgage Scheme

A San Mateo man is among a group of nine recently indicted for mail fraud and bank fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme involving the purchase of at least 19 homes, members of the FBI and U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced this week.

A federal grand jury returned four indictments on Sept. 13, which have just been unsealed.

The first indictment charged Svetlana Dubinsky, 48, of Boca Raton, Fla.; Serge Doubinski, 29, of San Francisco; and Zinayda Chekayda, 49, of Antelope, Calif. The second indictment charged Volodymyr Dubinsky, 53, formerly of Folsom, Calif.; Leonid Doubinski, 47, formerly of Copperopolis, Calif.; Edward Khalfin, 55, of San Mateo, Calif.; and Robin Dimiceli, 50, of Brentwood, Calif. The last two indictments charged Diana Woods, 55, of Citrus Heights, Calif., and Kory Schmidli, 34, of Linden, Calif.

According to the indictments, two brothers - Volodymyr Dubinsky and Leonid Doubinski - built, developed, and sold real estate in Carmichael, Sacramento, and Copperopolis. As the real estate market declined, the brothers recruited family members, employees, and associates with good credit to act as "straw buyers" for residential properties. A straw buyer is someone who knowingly acquires or purchases an item for another who is unable or unqualified, for whatever reason, to buy it themselves.

Licensed mortgage broker Khalfin of San Mateo and licensed real estate salespersons Dimiceli and Woods assisted in the scheme by submitting the loan applications for the straw buyers.

They allegedly prepared and submitted applications to lenders that falsely stated the straw buyers’ income, assets, and intent to occupy the homes as their primary residences. The straw buyers included Dimiceli, Woods, Svetlana Dubinsky, Serge Doubinski, Chekayda, and Schmidli.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1-million fine. 

This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI and the IRS' Criminal Investigation division. Assistant United States Attorneys Todd A. Pickles, R. Steven Lapham and Lee S. Bickley are prosecuting the case.


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