Trio Pleads Guilty In ‘Extensive’ Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Carlyle ‘Carl’ Lee Cole, 66, and Caleb Lee Cole, 37, both of Bakersfield, Calif., pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their involvement in an extensive mortgage fraud scheme that ran from January 2004 to September 2007, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced on Nov. 7.

Carl Cole pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud. Caleb Cole pleaded guilty to mail fraud. Co-defendant Sneha Ramesh Mohammadi, 41, also of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty on Nov. 5 to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud.

The charges against the trio are the result of an investigation into the illegal activities around their real estate firm, Crisp, Cole & Associates, which ‘falsely inflated real estate prices knowing that the foreclosures that followed would do harm to local builders, consumers and lenders,’ Wagner says in a release.

‘Crisp & Cole was emblematic of the recklessness and lawlessness in the mortgage industry in the mid-2000s that caused the financial crisis that led to so much devastation in the Central Valley of California,’ he says. ‘Since that crisis hit, this office has charged more than 350 people with crimes related to mortgage fraud schemes, and our work is not yet done.’

Carl Cole and Caleb Cole are scheduled for sentencing in February.

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