Jewler Sentenced for Running $20M Straw Buyer Scheme

Allison Tussey —  January 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

Robert Mikail, 41, formerly of Ashburn, Virginia, was sentenced to 52 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in fraudulent mortgage loan transactions involving approximately 36 properties in Northern Virginia and nearly $20 million in fraudulently obtained loans.

Mikail also was ordered to pay approximately $6 million in restitution to lenders and to forfeit to the government $882,387 in proceeds of his crimes.

According to court records, Mikail conspired with others, including loan officers Bing-Sing “Cindy” Wang and Ging-Hwang “Felicia” Tsoa, to defraud mortgage lenders as part of a scheme to profit from fraudulently obtained mortgage loans and the purchase of residential real estate in northern Virginia. As part of the scheme, Mikail recruited five individuals, known as straw buyers, to serve as nominal purchasers in these transactions, and he worked with loan officers to falsify critical information on the straw buyers’ loan applications in order to get the loans approved and the transactions closed. In particular, virtually all the fraudulent loan applications falsely identified Mikail’s Ashburn, Virginia jewelry store, Opus Jewelry, as the borrower’s employer, which Mikail would then falsely verify to the lenders as part of the loan approval process.

In total, Mikail engineered the purchase of approximately 36 homes in and around Ashburn, Virginia, from 2005 through 2007, and he obtained approximately $20 million in loan proceeds on the basis of fraudulent loan applications. While Mikail personally profited by approximately $882,387 from these transactions, all the loans ultimately defaulted, resulting in approximately $6 million in losses to the lenders.

Co-conspirator Tsoa, formerly a loan officer at First Empire Mortgage, Fairfax, Virginia, and Lifetime Financial Services, Herndon, Virginia, was convicted of conspiracy and bank fraud charges on November 15, 2013, following a jury trial and will be sentenced on February 7, 2014. Co-conspirator Wang, the owner of Lifetime Financial Services, pleaded guilty to related charges on November 20, 2012, and was sentenced to 24 months in prison on February 26, 2013.

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Paul J. Nathanson and Jasmine H. Yoon prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

Allison Tussey

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