Guilty Plea In Straw Borrower Scheme

admin —  February 13, 2009 — Leave a comment

Terrence White, 35, Oxon Hill, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to mail fraud arising from the fraudulent purchase of 25 properties in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia using false mortgage and settlement documents. Osman Sharrieff Al-Bari, 34, Washington, D.C. was arrested February 12, 2009, for mail and wire fraud, and Jamilah Al-Bari, 35, Districts Heights, Maryland, was arrested for mail fraud, arising from this scheme. Their indictment was returned on February 10, 2009.

According to his plea agreement, White and others paid over 15 straw purchasers $10,000 per property to purchase houses for White and others. White created false mortgage and settlement documents, many of which misrepresented the straw purchasers’ income and assets. White and others also created false invoices to claim that their company, Brotherly Investment Group, performed “renovations” on some of the properties. Using these false invoices, White and others were “repaid” at closing for the purported renovations. White was an organizer and leader in this scheme. From 2006 to 2008, White and others received approximately $3,830,418 in fraudulent funds as part of this scheme. Many of the purchased properties have been foreclosed upon.

The eleven count indictment alleges that Osman and Jamilah Al-Bari performed the same acts in the scheme as White. The indictment also alleges that Osman received wire transfers of $515,820 for the purported renovations of properties. Jamilah is alleged to have abused her position as a business banking liaison at a Maryland bank by: creating several false documents to verify assets for straw buyers; sending false verification letters on bank letterhead to banks and mortgage lenders to facilitate the fraud scheme; and creating fictitious bank employees to sign some of the false verification letters. Jamilah is alleged to have received a check or cash, disguised as a consulting fee, for each fraudulent transaction she helped to facilitate.

The indictment alleges that the total value of these fraudulent loans was approximately $18 million. An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

All three defendants face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for mail fraud. Osman also faces a maximum sentence of 30 years for wire fraud. No sentencing date has been scheduled for White. Osman and Jamilah Al-Bari had their initial appearances in federal district court On February 12, 2009.

Timothy Reed, 43, Beltsville, Maryland, pleaded guilty on February 10, 2009 to mail fraud in connection with his participation in this scheme. No sentencing date has been set.

Sabrina Weinberg, 44, Bethesda, Maryland, pleaded guilty on November 18, 2008 to mail fraud in connection with her role in the scheme. No sentencing date has been set.

No trial date has been set for co-defendant Kara McIntosh, who was indicted on the same charges on November 18, 2008.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, who made the announcement, thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office – Economic Crimes Unit and the U.S. Secret Service for their investigative work and assistance. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Kwame J. Manley, who is prosecuting the case.

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