FRESNO, Calif. — Two brothers in Modesto, Calif., were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud after allegedly presenting false financial information on behalf of their customers.

After a three-day trial before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill, a federal jury returned a verdict today finding Abdel Baset Jawad, also known as Fred Jawad, 38, and his brother Abdul Muniem Mohamad Jawad, known as Manny Jawad, 39, guilty of the crime, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Sentencing is scheduled for April 8.

According to evidence presented at trial, the Jawad brothers owned and operated various used automobile dealerships in Stanislaus and Merced Counties, including Own-A-Car, The Auto Store and Auction 2 U in Modesto.

Employees of the dealerships would assist customers in finding a vehicle to purchase. Many of these customers, according to court files, were in a poor financial situation and unable to qualify for a vehicle loan. In order to enable the customers to obtain financing, the Jawads, and others acting at their direction, conspired to assist the customers in preparing misleading and false financial information for submission to a financial institution in order to obtain financing.

In some instances, the defendants enter fictitious information on loan applications, including the names of employers for whom the customers did not work. If a customer was employed, according to court documents, employees would inflate the customer’s earnings. Some of the customers signed these loan applications, while others had no knowledge of how their signatures appeared on the applications.

Because of the defendants’ conduct, financial institutions approved loans to customers who otherwise should not have received financing. As customers were approved for loans, the dealerships received the money as payment for the purchased vehicles.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, California Department of Justice and the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Investigations Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark E. Cullers and Henry Z. Carbajal, III and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan A. S. Richards are prosecuting the case.

The maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to commit bank fraud is 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, or both. Penalties could also entail a period of supervised release, forfeiture, and restitution. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.