Actor Tommy Lister, who has appeared in approximately 100 movies, and a San Fernando Valley accountant were charged in federal court with conspiring to commit mortgage fraud in a scheme that led to $3.8 million in losses.
Lister, who is also known as “Tiny” and “Zeus,” a 54-year-old Chatsworth
resident, was charged this afternoon in a criminal information with one count of
A second person involved in the scheme—Arcelia Chavez, 48, of Northridge, who
is a self-employed certified tax preparer—was also charged today with
In plea agreements that were also filed this afternoon in United States
District Court, both Lister and Chavez agreed to plead guilty to the conspiracy
The court documents filed today outline a scheme that ran from November 2005
through June 2007 and involved Lister, Chavez, and several other individuals,
including: Sami Sager Sweiss, formerly a mortgage loan officer based in Woodland
Hills; Jason Patterson, a real estate agent in Long Beach; J.R., formerly a
manager of a Washington Mutual Bank branch in Woodland Hills; and Wanda Tenney,
formerly an escrow officer based in the San Fernando Valley.
Lister conspired with these individuals to fraudulently acquire title to four
residential properties he could not afford. With the help of these individuals
and others, Lister obtained mortgages for the four properties through fraudulent
means, including submitting mortgage applications that included inflated income
and asset amounts; fabricating bank statements and falsifying other documents to
substantiate the fraudulent statements in the loan applications; and falsifying
escrow records to deceive lenders into believing Lister had made required down
In addition to fraudulently obtaining the mortgages, Lister and his
co-conspirators concealed from lenders the fact that he would receive kickbacks
from sellers after the real estate deals closed.
Relying on the fraudulent applications and documents, lenders issued
mortgages totaling $5.7 million. Lister subsequently defaulted on the four
mortgages, causing those lenders and their successors to lose approximately $2.6
After acquiring title to the four residential properties, Lister obtained
fraudulent home equity lines of credit on each of the four properties. Lister
drew down a total of $1,146,000 in cash from the four HELOCs but did not pay
back any of the principal.
Lister also admitted in his plea agreement that Chavez aided and abetted him
in obtaining one of the fraudulent mortgages and a fraudulent HELOC by preparing
a false CPA letter, as well as fabricating W-2s and a pay stub. The false CPA
letter stated that Chavez had prepared Lister’s tax returns. Chavez separately
admitted in her plea agreement that she prepared the false and fictitious
documents, actions that caused lenders to lose approximately $1.1 million.
Lister and Chavez will be summoned to appear in federal court in Los Angeles
The charge of conspiracy carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years
in federal prison.
On July 30, 2012, Sweiss pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count before United
States District Judge Dale S. Fischer. As part of his guilty plea, Sweiss
admitted that he conspired with Lister, Patterson, Tenney, and Chavez to commit
mortgage fraud. Sweiss is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, 2013.
The charges in this case are the result of an investigation by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.
As an American, I have witnessed many events in our nation's history. Some of them great like placing a man on the moon. Some of them were dark and shameful events. No matter what happened, it is the people that make this nation great. Each looking to the future with optimism and looking to improve this nation for all. The United States is a great and wonderful nation and her people are her best asset. As Americans, we need to stand together and let our voices be heard.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Actor and Accountant Agree to Plead Guilty to Conspiracy Charges in Mortgage Fraud Scheme That Cost Banks $3.8 Million
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