Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 | 9:45 p.m.
A federal appeals court Thursday rejected arguments of a Las Vegas man convicted of fraud against financial institutions in the sale of homes.
The panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Oudom Somee was not entitled to a new trial on his claim that a defense witness was excluded who would testify about his diminished mental capacity.
The court upheld the decision of U.S. District Judge Miranda Du, who questioned the reliability of the methods used and the qualifications of Dr. Thomas Kinsora who was to testify about Somee's mental capability.
Somee in June 2013 was sentenced to 51 months in prison and was ordered to make $1.3 million in restitution. He was also placed on five years of supervision upon his release from prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Somee used family and friends to serve as “straw buyers” to fraudulently purchase homes in the Las Vegas area so he could skim part of the loan proceeds for himself.
Somee recruited people with high credit scores to buy homes that Somee controlled. He would prepare false paperwork for the loans and he told the purchasers they would not have to pay the mortgage.
Somee would receive cash at the closing of the applications. Eight homes in Henderson and Las Vegas were involved in this scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which said the losses to the financial institutions were over $2.6 million.