Loan Officer Sentenced to Prison for Straw Buyer Scheme

Allison Tussey —  February 24, 2014 — Leave a comment

Ging—Hwang “Felicia” Tsoa, 59, Broadlands, Virginia, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for her role in a mortgage fraud conspiracy that involved approximately 36 properties in Northern Virginia and nearly $20 million in fraudulently obtained loans.

Tsoa also was ordered to pay approximately $1.4 million in restitution to lenders and to forfeit to the government $45,738 in proceeds of her crimes.

A federal jury convicted Tsoa of conspiracy and bank fraud charges on November 15, 2013.

According to court records and evidence at trial, Tsoa used her position as a loan officer at First Empire Mortgage, Fairfax, Virginia, and Lifetime Financial Services, Herndon, Virginia, 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, co-conspirator Robert Mikail recruited five individuals, known as straw buyers, to serve as nominal purchasers in these transactions. Tsoa worked with Mikail and co-conspirator Bing-Sing “Cindy” Wang, the owner of Lifetime Financial Services, to falsify critical information on the straw buyers’ loan applications in order to get the loans approved, the transactions closed, and her commissions paid. In particular, virtually all the fraudulent loan applications falsely identified Mikail’s Ashburn, Virginia, jewelry store, Opus Jewelry, as the borrower’s employer, which the conspirators would then falsely verify to the lenders as part of the loan approval process.

In total, the conspiracy involved the purchase of approximately 36 homes in and around Ashburn, Virginia, from 2005 through 2007 and approximately $19.9 million in loan proceeds disbursed on the basis of fraudulent loan applications. According to the evidence at trial, Tsoa served as the loan officer on at least nine of these transactions, which resulted in approximately $1.4 million in losses to lenders.

Co-conspirator Wang pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge on November 20, 2012, and was sentenced to 24 months in prison on February 26, 2013. Co-conspirator Mikail pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge on July 17, 2013, and was sentenced to 52 months in prison on January 10, 2014.

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 United States 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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