Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | 10:30 p.m.
The conviction of former Las Vegas real estate agent Linda Kot, involved in a $10 million mortgage fraud scheme, has been upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The three-judge panel of the court Tuesday said there was “overwhelming evidence” for the conviction of Kot on mail, bank and wire fraud charges in 2012.
Kot and three others submitted false information in 2006 to banks to secure loans on 13 new home purchases. The bogus loan applications carried the names of “straw buyers” who were individuals with good credit ratings but who had no intention of paying off the loans.
The bank loans, based on misleading information, were approved and placed in a trust. Kot, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office at the time of sentencing, received $276,000 in commissions from the deals.
The recession hit and many of the homes were not sold.
The appeals court said “Kot’s conviction arose out of her alleged masterminding of a scheme whereby she sold properties to a real estate trust … in exchange for brokerage commissions.”
She was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered by U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson to forfeit $3.8 million. She was placed on five year’s supervised release after she is released from prison.
Her partners pleaded guilty to reduced charges. Hugo Coutelin and Michael Perry received 18 month prison terms, and Jeff Thomas was sentenced to time served.
Kot, in her appeal, complained she received a stiffer sentence than her co-conspirators. But court said Kot’s “conduct was more egregious” and that she “intentionally testified falsely as to a material act.”
The court found the prosecutor made an improper statement in his closing argument about the truthfulness of some of the witnesses. But it said Judge Dawson told the jury it should make its own judgment on the veracity of the witnesses.