Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hamlet Sardariani Pleads Guilty in $5.4 Million Loan Fraud Case and Tax Evasion


RIVERSIDE, CA—A Sylmar man has pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges, admitting that he plotted with others to fraudulently obtain four loans for more than $5 million by pledging houses that they did not own as collateral, falsely claiming that the houses had enough equity to secure the loans, forging documents, and falsifying notary stamps.

Hamlet Sardariani, 42, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon in United States District Court. Hamlet Sardariani was scheduled to go on trial next week before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.

Three other members of the conspiracy have previously pleaded guilty. Hamlet Sardariani’s brother—Henrik Sardariani, 44, of Glendale—pleaded guilty in January and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Phillips on August 6 (see: Wanda Tenney, 66, of South Los Angeles, who was an escrow officer, pleaded guilty on December 5, 2011 and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 15. The fourth co-conspirator, Christopher J. Woods, 53, of Beverly Hills, pleaded guilty on November 8, 2011 and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 16.

According to a plea agreement filed in his case, Hamlet Sardariani admitted that he either knew or reasonably should have known of the numerous false statements and falsified documents used to obtain the four loans involved in this case. For instance, to obtain one of the loans, Henrik Sardariani fraudulently claimed to own a Burbank property and created false records to maintain that pretense. In fact, the Burbank house was not owned by Henrik Sardariani, and, although it had previously been owned by Hamlet Sardariani, he had lost the property through foreclosure months before Henrik Sardariani pledged it to the victim lender. Hamlet Sardariani later promised the same property to one of Henrik Sardariani’s creditors, and, a day later, to another victim lender in this case. The Sardariani brothers pledged other properties in Sherman Oaks and Glendale that they did not own and which did not have the equity Henrik Sardariani claimed they had to obtain the other loans.

Hamlet Sardariani also admitted that many of the fraudulent documents used to influence the lenders to lend money contained forged and fraudulent signatures and stamps of notaries public. Furthermore, Hamlet Sardariani distributed many of the loan proceeds to himself, his family members and friends, and Henrik Sardariani’s creditors. Nearly $2 million from the fraud was wired by co-conspirators to Hong Kong to be used to bet on horse races.

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