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Martinez developer fined $11 million

Albert Seeno III, president of Discovery Sales. (housingzone.com)
Albert Seeno III, president of Discovery Sales. (housingzone.com)

An area home developer has been ordered to pay one of the largest fines in the Northern California U.S. District Court’s history after pleading guilty to bank fraud.

Albert Seeno III, developer of “The Townhomes” just off Muir Station Road in Martinez, was ordered Dec. 8 to pay $3 million in restitution and an $8 million fine for his company’s involvement in a major mortgage scheme.

Court proceedings proved that Discovery Sales, of which Seeno is the president, illegally obtained mortgages for buyers of Seeno-built homes from 2006 to 2008. At least $1.24 billion in construction lines of credit were obtained in the scheme, resulting in an estimated $75 million loss to Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase.

Several of Discovery Sales’ former employees are in prison or facing prosecution for their involvement in the scheme. While Seeno has escaped any such sentence for his alleged involvement, attorneys said Discovery Sales holds no assets, therefore Seeno will personally be responsible for paying restitution and fees.

The $3 million in restitution to mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is due within 120 days. The $8 million fine must be paid, with interest, within five years of the date of the sentence. Discovery Sales was also sentenced to a five-year probationary period.

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