Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.

Help support the publication of case reports on MoreLaw

Date: 09-13-2022

Case Style:

United States of America v. Mark Dango “Kafani” Hicks, Jr., aka Amir Rashad, et al.

Case Number: 3:20-cr-00108

Judge: James Donato

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:

Click Here to Watch How To Find A Lawyer by Kent Morlan

Click Here For The Best sanfrancisco Criminal Defense Lawyer Directory

If no lawyer is listed, call 918-582-6422 and MoreLaw will help you find a lawyer for free.

Description: San Francisco, California criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with engaging in a multi-million dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme orchestrated a complex loan fraud and identity theft conspiracy

Mark Hicks admitted to being at the center of a conspiracy in which he directed a team of criminals who stole approximately $2 million from banks and lending institutions. Specifically, Hicks admitted that within months of being released from prison in November 2017, he began orchestrating a scheme and conspiracy to defraud lending institutions and financial institutions. Hicks admitted that he obtained the personal identifying information of nine victims; obtained additional information about the victims, such as their credit history; used the illegally-obtained information to create fraudulent bank accounts, emails, and phone numbers in the victims’ names; and then applied for mortgage refinance loans in the victims’ names.

Hicks admitted that he used these methods to victimize nine individuals when fraudulently applying for eight loans. In some cases, the loans were not approved. In other cases, Hicks convinced lending institutions to forward funds to fraudulently-created bank accounts.

During the sprawling two-year loan fraud conspiracy, Hicks impersonated victims in over a dozen phone calls with banks, lending institutions, and gold dealers. Hicks used the stolen funds primarily to buy gold bars and coins that his co-conspirators sold for cash. Over $480,000 of the illicit gains were recovered from a safe deposit box controlled by Hicks’s relatives.

Demarcus Hicks (Mark Hicks’s half-brother) and Costello each admitted to assisting Hicks in executing various aspects of the scheme. For example, Demarcus Hicks admitted that after he was made aware of the scheme, he obtained and passed on to coconspirators the personal identifying information of a victim, he sold gold bars and coins that had been purchased with the proceeds of the scheme, he traveled with coconspirators who impersonated victims to get fraudulent loan documents notarized, and he withdrew cash from bank accounts that had been fraudulently established as part of the scheme. Similarly, Costello admitted that after being informed about the scheme, he obtained counterfeit drivers’ licenses with the names of victims but photographs of coconspirators, and facilitated meetings between coconspirators and notaries to obtain fraudulent loan documents.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation in this case with assistance from the Phoenix Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Hakala, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution.

Outcome: In sum, the scheme included the following defendants:
Defendant Age, Residence Statutes of Conviction Sentence Imposed
Mark “Kafani” Hicks 42, Oakley, California 18 U.S.C. § 1349
18 U.S.C. § 1344
18 U.S.C. § 1028A 87 months

Demarcus Hicks 38, Stockton, California 18 U.S.C. § 1349
18 U.S.C. § 1344
18 U.S.C. § 1028A 48 months

Dionysius Costello 38, Berkeley, California 18 U.S.C. § 1349
18 U.S.C. § 1344
18 U.S.C. § 1028A 54 months

Susan Arreola-Martin 72, Antioch, California 18 U.S.C. § 1349
18 U.S.C. § 1344
18 U.S.C. § 1028A
21 U.S.C. § 841 84 months

Leif Skorochod 48, San Francisco, California 18 U.S.C. § 1349
18 U.S.C. § 1344
18 U.S.C. § 1028A 14.5 months

Christopher Pool 57, Stockton, California 18 U.S.C. § 1349
18 U.S.C. § 1344
18 U.S.C. § 1028A 15 months

Judge Donato ordered each of the defendants to pay restitution in the amount of $1,904,988.79.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


Find a Lawyer


Find a Case