Dan Koukol represented one of four defendants recently acquitted of five charges related to mortgage fraud in a landmark federal case in Sacramento. Koukol mounted two distinct defenses for his client, one of which had never been used before anywhere in the country.
Koukol’s client was charged with various counts of mortgage fraud—three counts of money laundering and two counts of mail fraud— in connection with real estate dealings in 2006 and 2007. The prosecution claimed that Koukol’s client was the “ringleader” in the group of four defendants, in that he recruited straw buyers to purchase properties under false pretenses and then turned around immediately and resold the properties for extraordinary profits to a subsequent straw buyer who, the government claimed, lied on her loan applications.
The defense attorneys for all four defendants argued that for fraud to have been committed, the lenders would have had to actually rely on the misstatements and gaping holes in loan applications. Instead, the lenders turned a blind eye. In fact, in many cases the lenders encouraged buyers to fill in false information on loan applications, so that those very same lenders could approve large numbers of mortgage applications that would not pass muster if the buyer provided truthful information.