Managers at a Westwood-based mortgage company have been arrested on federal charges related to a scheme that targeted distressed homeowners.
David Singui, 49, of Inglewood, and Aziz Meghji, 35, of Los Angeles, were arrested last week in the "foreclosure avoidance and equity-skimming scheme," according to a Department of Justice press release. The two men were the principal owner and the second-in-charge, respectively, at Direct Money Source (DMS).
The mortgage brokerage "allegedly operated as an equity-skimming operation that took possession of distressed homeowner’s equity under fraudulent pretenses and also defrauded mortgage lenders," according to the press release.
Kiet Truong, 27, of Hawthorne, and Starr Smith, 31, are also defendants named in the 42-count indictment.
Each of the four defendants are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, loan fraud and aggravated identity theft. Singui and Meghji have also been charged with money laundering.
"As alleged in the indictment, DMS was an equity-skimming operation that took possession of distressed homeowner’s equity under fraudulent pretenses," according to the DOJ. "The scheme allegedly defrauded mortgage lenders in connection with loans on approximately 50 different properties."
Singui, Meghji and Truong have each pleaded not guilty.
A trial is scheduled for Nov. 6.