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Newport woman sentenced in real estate scheme

April 20, 2012

A Newport Beach woman was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for scheming with her two daughters and son-in-law to commit more than $16 million in real estate fraud, authorities said.

Sushama Devi Lohia, 74, pleaded guilty in December to felonies — including conspiracy to commit a crime, identity theft and failure to file — for securing loans and buying homes using "straw buyers," or people who buy a property they never intend to control, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

For more than three years, Lohia, her daughters and son-in-law allegedly recruited straw buyers through friends and family. They obtained fraudulent loans on Orange County real estate using inflated figures for the straw buyers' incomes, prosecutors said.

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Lohia and her family falsified information, forged signatures on documents and filed false and forged documents with the Orange County Clerk-Recorder's office, the D.A.'s office said.

Prosecutors began investigating wrongdoing after receiving a complaint from a Realtor.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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