The operators of a San Fernando Valley-based mortgage company Liberty One Financial Group, Inc., were convicted of conspiring to deceive homeowners seeking to refinance their existing mortgages through bait-and-switch tactics and forgery of loan documents. Deputy City Attorney Michele Anderson of the City Attorney’s Special Litigation Unit successfully prosecuted the case.
Liberty One Employees Vighen Mkrtoumian, Layne Nocera, and company CFO Khachatour Galdjian were each convicted of conspiracy and multiple counts of grand theft and forgery. Each of the defendants was ordered to pay $43,584 in restitution and investigative costs. Mkrtoumian was sentenced to 60 months probation and 180 days in county jail or 120 days of Cal Trans work. He must also surrender all licenses related to the real estate industry. Galdjian was sentenced to 180 days in jail or 90 days Cal Trans and Nocera was sentenced to 90 days in jail or 60 days of Cal Trans. Both Galdjian and Nocera were also placed on 60 months probation under similar terms as Mkrtoumian.
John Dibona, a Telemarketer for Liberty One, and Wayne Stimson, a company broker, were each convicted of one count of false representation in a real estate transaction. Stimson was sentenced to 36 months probation and 120 days in jail or 60 days of Cal Trans work. Dibona was sentenced to 24 months probation and was ordered to complete 10 days of Cal Trans work.
Garnik Poghosyan, CEO of Liberty One, currently has a warrant out for his arrest in the amount of $350,000
On April 1, 2007, DiBona, a loan consultant for Liberty One Financial Group in Van Nuys, “cold called” Harbor Gateway homeowners and offered to refinance an existing mortgage loan on their home. Along with Nocera, a Liberty One Sales Director, DiBona, in a classic bait-and-switch, deceived the victims into applying for and obtaining refinancing in excess of the amount, interest and monthly payments they were promised by the lender.
The victims later learned that their signatures had been forged on many of the loan documents, and that their income and assets had been fabricated on many of the documents. By the time the victims were made aware of all of the discrepancies and tried to get assistance with problems, they were threatened with foreclosure and had suffered substantial financial losses.
Mkrtoumian, a notary public, notarized some of the forged or falsified loan documents and was not present when the victims signed the loan documents.Broker Stimson’s name and title appear on some of the forged and falsified documents, though the victims say they never spoke with him.