Former Beverly Hills appraiser sentenced in real estate fraud ring

A former Beverly Hills real estate appraiser was sentenced to three years in federal prison Friday for her role in a multimillion-dollar real estate fraud ring.

A Los Angeles federal judge also ordered Lila Rizk to pay part of $46 million in restitution to RBC Mortgage, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada; Bank of America Corp.; and other lenders that together lost about $50 million on loans totaling $142 million in the scheme, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeremy Matz.

Rizk, 42, of Trabuco Canyon in Orange County, along with 10 other developers, agents and appraisers, bought homes in wealthy areas such as Beverly Hills and La Jolla, then inflated the homes' value to get loans, Matz said.

Last year a jury convicted Rizk of conspiracy, bank fraud and loan fraud, Matz said. A total of 11 people have been convicted on charges related to the scheme, with eight yet to be sentenced, Matz said. The sentences have ranged from probation to 14 years in prison.

Alan Baum, Rizk's attorney, said there was a feeling of both disappointment and relief after the sentencing Friday.

"She could have faced as much as 10 years in prison," Baum said. "The judge, in sentencing her to three years, recognized that she's not an evil person and that she had a very minor role in all this."

He said Rizk had pleaded not guilty and denied knowingly falsifying any appraisals, but the jury concluded otherwise. How much Rizk will pay in restitution will be determined by her income once out of prison, Baum said. Rizk is considering appealing the verdict.


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