Three people who were involved in a sophisticated real estate fraud scheme were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two to 12 years and ordered to pay more than $1.4 million in restitution, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Angela Grace Cotton, 47, was sentenced Monday to 12 years behind bars for her no contest plea to three counts of identity theft, two counts of grand theft and one county each of forgery and money laundering.
Her husband, Lawrence Edward Cotton, 52, and Denaysha Coleman, 27, pleaded no contest to one felony count each of grand theft and money laundering. Coleman was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison, while Lawrence Cotton was ordered to serve two years behind bars.
The three also admitted allegations of fraud and embezzlement resulting in the loss of more than $500,000.
Co-defendant Latrese Gevon Breaux, 47, pleaded no contest in February to one felony count each of grand theft and identity theft. She is facing 200 hours of community service, 106 days already served in jail and five years probation, with sentencing set for Dec. 4, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Angela Cotton, with help from her co-defendants, used fictitious escrow and title companies she had created to deceive a lending company into believing it was funding two legitimate real estate transactions, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The group stole the identities of nine people to facilitate the fictitious real estate sales and created fraudulent websites, e-mails and phone networks along with fake employment documentation and bank account statements from a non-existent financial institution for the supposed buyer.
The properties for which the group received loans were located in Los Angeles and La Canada Flintridge and had not been listed for sale, according to Deputy District Attorney Daniel Kinney.