Carmen Johnson, 48, Gambrills, Maryland, was convicted by a federal jury on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and making a false statement on a loan application, arising from two residential mortgage fraud schemes.
According to the evidence presented at her seven day trial, in the first scheme, which operated from March 2007 to November 2008, Johnson conspired with real estate agent Edgar Tibakweitira and others to fraudulently obtain residential mortgage loans by making false statements during the loan application and approval process. In the second scheme, witnesses testified that between April and July 2008 Johnson conspired with real estate agent Nsane Phanuel Ligate and others in a similar mortgage fraud scheme involving two properties in Baltimore..
Johnson owned and operated CJ Lending and its predecessor Able Estate & Company, which provided credit repair services. Witnesses testified that in both schemes Carmen Johnson reported to credit bureaus and provided her fellow co-conspirators with false credit histories showing backdated lines of credit that were used to convince lenders to give mortgage loans. As part of both schemes, Johnson’s co-conspirators used stolen or false identity information, false documents – including W-2 forms, earnings and banks statements – and false credit information to induce lenders to provide mortgage loans to straw purchasers. Johnson’s co-conspirators also inflated the sales prices of the properties by creating false documents for repairs and renovations that were never made. After the settlement, the conspirators divided up the cash received for the purported repairs.
As a result of both schemes, losses to financial institutions totaled $2,309,646.
Johnson faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on each of two conspiracy counts; 30 years in prison for each of 12 counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution; and 30 years in prison on each of 10 counts of false statement on a loan application. U.S. District Judge George Jerrod Hazel has scheduled sentencing for June 3, 2015, at 10:00 a.m.
Co-conspirators Edgar Tibakweitira, a/k/a “Edgar Julian,” “Charles Edgar Tibakweitira,” and “Edgar Gaudious Tibakweitira,” 46, Severn, Maryland, Flavia Makundi, 42, Severn Park, Maryland, Ayoub Luziga, 35, Bowie, Maryland, Raymond Abraham, age 48, Silver Spring, Maryland, Mokorya Cosmas Wambura, 42, Takoma Park, Maryland, Abdallah Suleiman Kitwara, 44, Bowie, Maryland, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the first scheme. Luziga was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $999,726. Kitwara was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $290,954 in restitution. Abraham was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $999,726 in restitution. Annika Boas, 37, Mount Rainier, Maryland, was convicted after trial and sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $511,147. Makundi was sentenced to time served. Tibakweitira is scheduled to be sentenced on March 23, 2015.
Nsane Phanuel Ligate, 42, Ashburn, Virginia, Cane Mwihava, 43, Bowie, Maryland, Larry Johnson, 58, Capital Heights, and Gladyness Silaa, 36, Bowie, Maryland have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the second mortgage fraud scheme. Larry Johnson was sentenced to eight months in prison consecutive to the current sentence he is serving on an unrelated case and ordered to pay restitution of $352,091. Silaa was sentenced six months home detention and ordered to pay $378,602 in restitution. Ligate and Mwihava are scheduled to be sentenced on March 16, 2015 and March 23, 2015, respectively.
The conviction was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Cary A. Rubenstein of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General; Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Rene Febles of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General; Special Agent in Charge Kathy Michalko of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office; John L. Phillips, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, U.S. Department of the Treasury – Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised HUD-OIG, FHFA-OIG, Treasury OIG, U.S. Secret Service and HSI Baltimore for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Di Gregory, Investigative Counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency Inspector General, who are prosecuting the case.