Judge sets March trial date for one of Pittsburgh region's largest landlords

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A federal judge today set a March trial date in a fraud case in which one of the four defendants is among the area's most prolific purchasers and managers of rental property.

Former partners Dov Ratchkauskas, of Squirrel Hill, and George Kubini, of Verona, face a March 2 trial before U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer on charges of wire fraud conspiracy, bank fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Mr. Kubini also faces tax charges.

Also facing related charges with the same trial date are their former real estate attorney Arthur Smith, of Point Breeze, and property appraiser Sandra Svaranovic, of Bethel Park. All have pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Kubini and Mr. Ratchkauskas were accused in the 2011 indictment against them of using fraud to obtain loans for properties purchased from 2005 through 2008. Mr. Smith and Ms. Svaranovic were later accused of helping with the paperwork.

Mr. Ratchkauskas' companies, which have included Realty Choice Investments and PGH Capital Management, have bought hundreds of properties, sold many of them to investors based in Israel and entered into agreements to manage them.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.



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