Real Estate Agent Goes To Prison
It was once sunshine and blue skies for Beverly Hills real estate agent and licensed appraiser Kyle Grasso.
But now the only light he will be seeing is through prison bars.
The Beverly Hills agent was sentenced today to one year and one day in federal prison and five years of a supervised released for his role in a $40 million Ponzi scheme.
He will also have to pay $13,070,148 in restitution fees.
Last August, a jury convicted Grasso of criminal conspiracy, bank fraud, numerous loan fraud counts, and money laundering, according to Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The evidence presented at trial showed that Grasso and his partner Lila Rizk were part of a scheme that obtained inflated mortgage loans on homes in some of California’s most expensive neighborhoods.
The wide-ranging and sophisticated scheme defrauded mortgage lenders by obtaining inflated mortgage loans on expensive homes in some of California’s most exclusive neighborhoods, including Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Malibu, Carmel, Mill Valley, Pebble Beach and La Jolla. Members of the conspiracy sent false documentation, including bogus purchase contracts and appraisals, to the victim banks to deceive them into unwittingly funding mortgage loans that were hundreds of thousands of dollars higher than the homes actually cost. Lehman Brothers Bank alone was deceived into funding more than 80 such inflated loans from 2000 into 2003, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in losses.
United States District Judge Dean Pregerson said: Grasso made some stupid decisions,but he doesn’t think he knowingly took part of any crime. He believed the Rizk played a bigger part.
The leader of the scheme, Mark Alan Abrams of Beverly Hills, awaits sentencing. Mrozek said it will take place later this year.