January 29, 2012 [Donna J. Miller, The Plain Dealer]
Uri Gofman, 39, of Beachwood: Sentencing Wednesday by Judge Daniel Gaul in one of the largest mortgage fraud cases in the country. He had family, friends and others invest in his real estate company, Real Asset Fund, then bought houses and falsely claimed improvements had been done, or inflated the value of improvements, to refinance and sell the houses to unqualified buyers. Gofman, with help from real estate agents, mortgage brokers and title companies, defrauded lenders through loan-application fraud, down-payment fraud and loan-distribution fraud, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty Dec. 21 to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft, money laundering, telecommunications fraud and tampering with records in exchange for a sentence of 8 years and three months in prison. He agreed to pay $1 million in restitution, forfeited $600,000 that had been seized, forfeited 43 homes valued at $4.1 million to the Cuyahoga County Land Bank and agreed to cooperate in other prosecutions.