Man Sentenced for Opening HELOCs without Homeowner Consent

Allison Tussey —  April 4, 2014 — Leave a comment

Kil Seok (Michael) Seo, 49, formerly of Fairfax, Virginia, was sentenced to 38 months in prison for engaging in bank fraud and aggravated identity theft as part of a mortgage fraud scheme. Seo also was ordered to pay restitution of $894,600 to several banks that were the victims of Seo’s criminal conduct.

Seo was indicted on December 10, 2009, by a federal grand jury on charges related to a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders, and he entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court on January 14, 2014.

According to court records, Seo, an Annandale, Virginia mortgage broker, schemed with others, including Peter Jin, to defraud lenders by transferring title to residential properties into the names of victims without their knowledge or consent and then opening home equity lines of credit in victims’ names, again without their knowledge or consent. Seo and Jin then opened bank accounts in the victims’ names for the purpose of receiving the fraudulently obtained loan proceeds.

As part of the scheme, Seo obtained from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles an identification card in the name of a victim but with Seo’s photo. He used that fraudulent ID to take out a home equity loan in the victim’s name. In total, the scheme resulted in losses to the lenders of nearly $900,000.

In 2009, co-defendant Jin pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft charges in connection with his role in the offense and was sentenced to 48 months in prison. Seo has resided in South Korea since 2009, and he was extradited to the United States in November 2013 to face the criminal charges contained in the December 2009 indictment.

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 following today’s sentencing by U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy D. Belevetz and Mark D. Lytle are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Allison Tussey

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