A California real estate agent was recently sentenced to more than six years in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
According to the Department of Justice, from October 2012 through October 2013, Robert Jacobsen sold homes with unpaid mortgages on them to unsuspecting homebuyers but eventually, authorities caught wind of the scheme.
According to the DOJ, Jacobsen’s scheme involved him creating a fictitious company called “American Brokers’ Conduit Corporation,” which was not related to an already-existing mortgage originator known as "American Brokers’ Conduit," which originated loans in the Bay Area.
The DOJ explained that Jacobsen used intermediaries to gain control of homes with mortgage liens that secured loans originated by the real “American Brokers’ Conduit,” and then Jacobsen would use intermediaries to sue the phony “American Brokers’ Conduit Corporation” in court, claiming that the legitimate mortgage liens were invalid.
From the DOJ’s announcement:
As he controlled both the plaintiff and the defendant in these lawsuits, Jacobsen then instructed the attorneys for both sides to enter into stipulated judgments, signed by the courts, resolving the lawsuits by purporting to declare the mortgage liens invalid. In so doing, he omitted to tell the courts that neither he nor any other person involved in the lawsuits was a legitimate representative of either the real “American Brokers’ Conduit” or the then-current owners of the liens. Jacobsen filed those agreements with the relevant county recorder’s offices, to give the appearance to anyone conducting a title search that the liens had been declared invalid by a court, and then sold the homes to unsuspecting buyers without paying off the original loans on the homes.
Jacobsen was initially charged with 13 counts of wire fraud and money laundering but the remaining charges will be dropped if he maintains his part of the plea agreement, the DOJ said. As a result of his plea, Jacobsen was also ordered to forfeit a yacht he purchased with the sale proceeds and pay an undetermined restitution fee.