Jet City Mortgage, LLC and one of its owners and operators, Ha-Duyen Thi Le, a/k/a Holly Le, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Money Laundering in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme. Financial investigation by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation revealed the company had fraudulently obtained mortgage loans on many of the homes where marijuana grows were established. When sentenced by U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on July 6, 2009, Le faces up to 20 years in prison, fines of up to twice the amount of funds laundered or $250,000, and three years of supervised release. Jet City Mortgage faces fines of up to twice the amount of funds laundered or $250,000 and a probationary period of up to three years.
The company was first identified by law enforcement as part of “Operation Green Reaper,” an investigation into large scale marijuana growing conspiracies in south King County. When law enforcement began investigating garden supply stores that were providing equipment and advice to marijuana manufacturing rings, they discovered that many of the homes where marijuana grows were discovered were purchased using the services of Jet City Mortgage.
According to the charging information and plea agreements, in 2005 and 2006, Le and her husband operated Jet City Mortgage, LLC. Le’s husband was a licensed mortgage broker and a licensed real estate agent. From the business’s office in Kent, Washington, LE conspired with others to falsify loan documents, allowing dozens of unqualified buyers to obtain mortgages and purchase one or more homes.
In their plea agreements, Jet City Mortgage, LLC and LE admit they falsified income and asset information, as well as documents purporting to verify that information, for borrowers seeking mortgages. LE conspired with the owners of three small businesses to provide false information to lenders who were attempting to verify the information in loan documents. These co-conspirators were paid a small fee each time they lied to the mortgage lenders. Jet City Mortgage collected fees and premiums both in the role of a mortgage broker and through LE’s husband’s work as a realtor. Financial records reveal Jet City Mortgage earned more than $230,000 from the scheme.
Many of the homes purchased through this scheme have now been foreclosed by the victim lenders. As part of the plea agreements, Jet City Mortgage will not attempt to keep the real estate and mortgage broker licenses which are being revoked by the State of Washington.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Vogel.