UPDATE as of 4:20 p.m. Kandi pleaded not guilty and was released pending trial on the conditions that he surrenders his passport and remains in Western Washington, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Emily Langlie said.
The public defender who represented Kandi in the initial proceedings was not immediately available for comment.
INITIAL POST: A grand jury today indicted a University Place man who offered loans to desperate borrowers and then took their homes if they missed a payment.
The FBI arrested Emiel Kandi, a 36-year-old hard money lender, this morning. He will appear in court this afternoon to face charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and making false statements on loan applications.
Kandi faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted as charged.
Prosecutors contend he submitted false information on at least 19 home mortgage loan applications from 2008 to 2009 for properties in Gig Harbor, Puyallup, Roy, Kent and Vancouver.
Kandi lied on the loan applications about the borrower’s employment, salary and intention to live in the home to ensure they would meet federal lending standards, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
People turned to Kandi as a last resort after being turned down by banks and were fooled into taking a short-term loan from him. Lenders charge high interest rates, typically 10 percent to 14 percent, and require real estate as collateral.
The loans were allegedly set up so Kandi could take the borrower’s home if they missed a single payment and in some cases flip them for a profit. Other loans included an inflated commission for Kandi, prosecutors said.
In 2010, he told The Seattle Times his only requirement for a borrower is “a pulse and a legal ability to sign.”
“I am a wolf,” he said.