Las Vegas lawyer disbarred for mortgage fraud

Currently serving 87 months in federal prison

The Nevada Supreme Court stripped a prominent Las Vegas attorney of his right to practice law in the state as part of the punishment for his place in a mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded financial institutions of more than $30 million, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Gerry Zobrist, 45, is already serving 87 months in federal prison for a scheme that saw Zobrist and his accomplices pay straw buyers to purchase 144 homes in the Las Vegas area. Those straw buyers obtained mortgage loans of more than $53 million, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2013:

Between 2006 and 2008, authorities said, Zobrist and his accomplices paid straw buyers to purchase 144 homes in the valley, obtaining mortgage loans for more than $53 million.

They submitted applications that contained fraudulent information about the straw buyers’ income and assets.

Part of the sales proceeds went to real estate companies and other entities controlled by Zobrist and his accomplices, authorities said.

They defaulted on the mortgage loans, causing the homes to go into foreclosure and causing the financial institutions to lose at least $30 million.

According to previous reporting by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Zobrist pleaded guilty in 2013 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud.

Now, in addition to serving more than seven years in jail, the Nevada Supreme Court permanently disbarred Zobrist.

Before Zobrist received his sentence in 2013, his wife spoke on his behalf and was later overcome by emotion when the judge announced Zobrist’s sentence.

Again, from the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2013:

Zobrist’s wife, Sheri, began crying, shaking and gasping for breath after U.S. District Judge James Mahan announced the 87-month sentence. Paramedics soon arrived to treat her.

Earlier in the hearing, Sheri Zobrist spoke on her husband’s behalf. She said they had been married for 21 years.

“I don’t know how to exist without him as a parent,” she tearfully told Mahan. “I don’t know how my kids can exist without him in their life.”

(h/t Rob Chrisman)

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