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October 1, 2013

Brothers sentenced to prison in bank scam

A pair of Modesto brothers received prison sentences on Monday of more than four years each for their roles in a bank-fraud scam in Merced and Stanislaus counties. Abdel Baset Jawad, 38, was sentenced to four years, nine months in prison. His brother, Abdul Muniem Mohamad Jawad, 39, received a term of four years, three months. They were also ordered to pay about $601,000 in restitution, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. Both men were convicted in January by a federal jury following a three-day trial.

A pair of Modesto brothers received prison sentences of more than four years each on Monday for their roles in a bank-fraud scam in Merced and Stanislaus counties.

Abdel Baset Jawad, 38, was sentenced to four years, nine months in prison. Abdul Muniem Mohamad Jawad, 39, received a term of four years, three months. They were also ordered to pay about $601,000 in restitution, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

Both men were convicted in January after a three-day trial.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill handed down the sentences on Monday, more than six years after the brothers were indicted for submitting bogus loan applications to financial institutions to help customers qualify for vehicle loans.

The brothers owned car lots in both counties, including The Auto Store in Merced and Auction 2 U and Own-A-Car in Modesto, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court.

Prosecutors said the brothers encouraged their employees to “perform what they referred to as ‘kinky deals,’” the indictment says.

Between August 2002 and December 2008, according to the indictment, the Jawad brothers, employees and customers misrepresented buyers’ incomes and employment statuses in credit applications. The indictment also claimed finance managers at the dealerships provided false proof of employment status and income.

Prosecutors said the brothers and their employees would also frequently misrepresent down payments, allowing customers with little or no money to sign “promissory notes” without putting any money down.

“Some of the customers signed these loan applications, while others had no knowledge of how their signatures appeared on the applications,” the Justice Department said in a news release.

Financial institutions approved loans to customers who otherwise should not have received financing, and the dealerships received the money as payment for the purchased vehicles.

Three other defendants pleaded guilty earlier this year and have already been sentenced. Armando Fathic Abdallah was sentenced March 4 to 18 months in prison. Hussein Ali was sentenced to 27 months in prison on March 18 and Husam Sarama was sentenced Feb. 19 to three months in prison.

The Jawad brothers were ordered to enter federal prison Nov. 18.

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