Lakewood Real Estate Broker Found Guilty of Lying to Banks, Swindling $662,000 in Loans

A 45-year-old Lakewood woman faces up to 10 years in federal prison after she was found guilty of swindling multiple financial institutions—including U.S. Bank—of $662,000 in a 2008 mortgage fraud scheme.

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Lakewood resident Felicia Muhammad, 45, was a licensed real estate broker living in Long Beach at the time of the criminal conduct, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She was convicted Friday afternoon of making false statements to federally-insured financial institutions, specifically U.S. Bank, Countrywide Bank, and First Horizon Home Loans (a subsidiary of First Tennessee Bank).

She was found guilty of five felony charges for defrauding the banks and causing a total of $662,000 in loss to the lenders related to defaulted properties.

“This defendant lied to three different financial institutions, causing significant losses to all of them,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said. “The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable those who would commit mortgage fraud and place U.S. financial institutions at risk.”

Trial evidence showed that in the summer of 2008, Muhammad applied for three loans, totaling more than $1.1 million, to purchase condominium units in North Hollywood and Canoga Park, a release stated.

Muhammad falsely stated in each loan application and in two occupancy certifications that each condo would be her primary residence—even though she never intended to live in any of the condos, officials stated.

“Once the loans were funded and the purchases were completed, the titles to the properties were transferred to a trust administered by Muhammad’s former landlord, who had asked her to purchase the properties with her good credit," the release stated. “In exchange for purchasing the properties, Muhammad received $18,000.”

Once the properties were transferred to the trust, all three loans defaulted and all three condos went into foreclosure, according to officials. The three lenders lost a total of $662,000.

Muhammad faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison when she is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6 by U.S. District Court Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.

The case was a result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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