Now we're really getting traction. When they slap Angelo Mozilo and his band of merry pranksters with RICO, I'll be dancing in the street.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Twenty-Four Charged in RICO Conspiracy
Twenty-four individuals have been charged with using a corrupt enterprise to conduct a pattern of racketeering activity, namely, wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. The charged racketeering activity all stems from an extensive mortgage fraud scheme based in San Diego, California, that involved 220 properties with a total sales price of more than $100 million dollars.
The lead defendants charged with running the corrupt enterprise are: Darnell Bell, aka D-Bell, Michael Ivy, Stanley Gentry and Billie Bishop. The indictment alleges that Darnell Bell, a documented member of the Lincoln Park street gang, was the leader of the corrupt enterprise and that he received at least $9 million in proceeds from the racketeering conspiracy. Michael Ivy was primarily responsible for negotiating the purchase of real estate on behalf of the enterprise. Stanley Gentry, a licensed real estate broker, allowed the corrupt enterprise to use his broker's license to facilitate the fraudulent purchase of property in exchange for a $10,000 monthly payment and a percentage of the real estate commission and broker's fees associated with each fraudulent purchase. Billie Bishop was an escrow officer who facilitated the fraudulent purchase of more than 100 properties on behalf of the enterprise.
The indictment alleges that the defendants devised a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders and to obtain money and property by false and fraudulent means. According to the indictment, between January 2005 and at least April 2008, the defendants used multiple real estate businesses, including the Ivy House, Inc., the Real Estate Center of Southern California, and the Real Estate Center of La Mesa, to facilitate the fraudulent purchase of real estate. In general terms, the scheme charged in the indictment worked as follows: