Archives For Identity Theft

Yale Schiff, 44, Riverwoods, Illinois, a north suburban businessman has been indicted on Wednesday, on bank fraud and identity theft charges for allegedly fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in mortgage and vehicle loans and using stolen identities to secure credit from financial institutions.

Schiff made false statements in loan applications to obtain mortgage loans secured by a variety of properties, according to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  The charges allege that Schiff filed with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds fraudulent letters from financial institutions claiming that loans on the properties were paid in full and that the mortgages were released, when, in fact, the loans were not paid in full and the mortgages had not been released.  Schiff then kept the financing paid by the banks, as well as proceeds from the eventual sales of the properties, without paying the mortgages, the indictment states.

The identity theft charges pertain to Schiff’s alleged use of multiple fake and stolen identities to fraudulently obtain loans for vehicles, including a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Lexus RX350.  The indictment accuses Schiff of submitting to the Recorder’s office fake letters from financial institutions and false releases of the vehicle liens, claiming that the loans were paid in full.  In reality, Schiff knew the letters were bogus and that the loans were not paid in full, the indictment states.  Schiff then allegedly sold the vehicles, keeping the proceeds without paying the loans.

Schiff also used stolen identities to obtain lines of credit and credit cards, including a charge card at Nordstrom department store that he used for personal use, the indictment states.  He then allegedly left large unpaid balances on the cards and the credit lines.

The charges allege that three of Schiff’s relatives and a business associate aided him in the schemes.  The indictment seeks forfeiture of a personal money judgment of approximately $4.7 million, as well as a property in Riverwoods.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Craig Goldberg, Inspector-in-Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri H. Mecklenburg.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Each bank fraud count is punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, while each count of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Dorothy Matsuba, 67, her daughter Jamie Matsuba, 33, and her husband, Thomas Matsuba, 67, all of Chatsworth, California, owners and/or managers of Los Angeles, California-area foreclosure rescue companies were sentenced to 240, 135, and 168 months in prison today for their roles in a foreclosure rescue scheme, respectively.

According to evidence presented at trial, from January 2005 to August 2014, Dorothy Matsuba, Jamie Matsuba, Thomas Matsuba and others engaged in a scheme to defraud financially distressed homeowners by offering to prevent foreclosure on their properties through short sales.  Instead, the conspirators rented out the properties to third parties, did not pay the mortgages on the properties, and submitted false and fraudulent documents to mortgage lenders and servicers to delay foreclosure.  The evidence further established that the conspirators obtained mortgages in the names of stolen identities.  The defendants also used additional tactics, including filing bankruptcy in the names of distressed homeowners without their knowledge and fabricating liens on the distressed properties, the evidence showed.

Two other defendants have been charged in this matter.  Defendant Jane Matsuba-Garcia, 42, Camarillo, California, previously pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.  Defendant Young Park Los Angeles, California, is a fugitive.  In addition, in related cases, Jason Hong, 36, Chatsworth, California and Ryu Goeku, 48,  Canoga Park, California, previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

All three Matsubas were sentenced by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner of the Central District of California.  Judge Klausner also ordered the defendants to serve three years of supervised release. Restitution and forfeiture will be decided at a hearing on Aug. 13.  All three defendants were remanded into custody. Dorothy Matsuba pleaded guilty on Dec. 4, 2017, to one count conspiracy to commit wire fraud, false statements to a federally insured bank or mortgage lending business, and identity theft, five counts of wire fraud, six counts of false statements to federally insured banks, and six counts of aggravated identity theft.  On Dec. 13, 2017, after a one-week trial, Jamie Matsuba and Thomas Matsuba were both convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, making false statements to federally insured banks, and committing identity theft and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks.

Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna for the Central District of California, Assistant Director in Charge Paul D. Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division, Acting Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Paul Conlon of the Federal Housing Finance Agency-Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), Special Agent in Charge R. Damon Rowe of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office, and Sheriff Jim McDonnell of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI, FHFA-OIG, IRS-CI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  Trial Attorney Niall M. O’Donnell, Senior Litigation Counsel David A. Bybee and Trial Attorney Jennifer L. Farer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.  Senior Trial Attorney Nicholas Acker previously worked on the investigation.

Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case should visit the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness website for more information.

Xavier Milton Earquhart, 30, Greensboro, North Carolina, was convicted following a three-day jury trial of an extensive bank lien theft scheme, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.

The evidence at trial showed that, in one bank fraud scheme, the defendant forged a deed on a property owned by an out of state landowner, and then channeled the property ownership through fictitious individuals and a holding company before personally taking title to the property.  The defendant then attempted to secure $495,000 in home equity loans using the property as collateral, becoming successful on three such attempts.

In a second scheme, the evidence showed that the defendant forged bank lien releases on 8 properties, in some instances, by stealing the identities of bank employees, and in other instances, using fictitious notaries.  The defendant created Delaware holding companies to conceal his activities. The defendant then sold the properties off to unknowing third parties.  At trial, the evidence showed that because of the defendant’s actions, some homeowners lost the funds that they had invested into the properties.  Other victims were left uncertain as to the ability of their families to remain in the homes due to the cloud upon their title.

Lastly, the evidence at trial included evidence from law enforcement concerning the tracing of the defendant’s fraudulent gains.  Law enforcement used a note and key found in the defendant’s Prius to uncover a hidden trove of $300,000 worth of gold, concealed in a storage unit in Spring, Texas.  Law enforcement also seized various items of valuable recording studio equipment.

The jury found Earquhart guilty of ten counts of Bank Fraud, two counts of Engaging in Monetary Transactions Involving Criminally Derived Property and one count of Aggravated Identity Theft and Aiding and Abetting.  Following the jury trial, the jury further found that the defendant was obligated to forfeit more than $1.3 Million in fraudulent proceeds, more than $100,000 in recording studio equipment, and $300,000 in gold bullion and coins.

Earquhart is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced by Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt in July 2018 and faces up to 30 years imprisonment.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the IRS Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of the Inspector General, the Wake County Register of Deeds, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, United States Secret Service and the Bankruptcy Administrator for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented the government in this case.

Franchesco Franco, 34, a former mortgage loan originator, Providence, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit bank fraud for his participation with a local real estate attorney and others in a scheme to defraud Flagstar Bank, by filing a fraudulent mortgage loan application and supporting documentation in the name of a person known to him who had recently died, in order to secure a loan in the amount of $157,102 for the purchase of a residence at 63 Wendell Street, Providence, Rhode Island.

According to court documents, after the mortgage was issued, Franco filed fraudulent documents in the deceased person’s name in order to have his own name added to the deed for the property. Loan payments were never made to Flagstar Bank, an FHA-insured lender, by Franco or anyone else. As a result, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) paid an insurance claim to Flagstar Bank for the unpaid balance of the loan in the amount of $165,062. According to court documents, a corporation formed by the real estate attorney, an alleged co-conspirator in this matter, later purchased the note for $35,000. Continue Reading…

Ardonus “Donna” Perkins, 40, Atlanta, Georgia, the former Assistant Vice President of Risk Management of the Credit Union of Georgia, has pleaded guilty to a charge of mail fraud for causing the credit union to disburse over $300,000 in fraudulent loans.

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Edgar Tibakweitira, a/k/a Edgar Julian, Charles Edgar Tibakweitira, and Edgar Gaudious Tibakweitira, 46, Severn, Maryland,  was sentenced by District Judge George J. Hazel to 57 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, arising from a residential mortgage fraud scheme.

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Andre Lamont Chenier, 41, Houston, Texas, has been arrested on allegations he engaged in an eight-year bank fraud, identity theft and money laundering scheme. Chenier allegedly submitted a personal financial statement that listed fictitious assets as well as tax returns that contained the Social Security number of someone else.

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Linda Sue Newcomb, 63, Madison Heights, Virginia, who was the former manager of the Lynrocten Federal Credit Union, pled guilty in United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia to embezzlement, bank fraud and identity theft charges for her role in originating loans in the names of credit union members without those members’ knowledge or consent, including forging the member’s name to fictitious loan documents. Continue Reading…

Rachel Siders, 39, Roseville, California, was convicted by a federal jury and found guilty of bank fraud, making a false loan application, and committing aggravated identity theft. Continue Reading…

Sharon Lynn Shaw, 67, San Jose, California, pleaded guilty in federal court to bank fraud and theft by bank officer. Shaw admitted that she used the names, Social Security numbers, and other personal information belonging to her parents, without their knowledge or authorization, to create false and fraudulent loan applications which she submitted to her employer Wells Fargo Bank.

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