Newport woman sentenced in real estate scheme

A Newport Beach woman was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for scheming with her two daughters and son-in-law to commit more than $16 million in real estate fraud, authorities said.

Sushama Devi Lohia, 74, pleaded guilty in December to felonies — including conspiracy to commit a crime, identity theft and failure to file — for securing loans and buying homes using "straw buyers," or people who buy a property they never intend to control, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

For more than three years, Lohia, her daughters and son-in-law allegedly recruited straw buyers through friends and family. They obtained fraudulent loans on Orange County real estate using inflated figures for the straw buyers' incomes, prosecutors said.

Lohia and her family falsified information, forged signatures on documents and filed false and forged documents with the Orange County Clerk-Recorder's office, the D.A.'s office said.

Prosecutors began investigating wrongdoing after receiving a complaint from a Realtor.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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