Archives For Washington D.C.

Homayoon Daneshvar, 63, Washington, D.C., was sentenced to 18 months in prison.  The charges related to a $1.9 million real estate investment fraud scheme.

Danshevar was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release, forfeit $1.945 million, and pay $926,020 in restitution.

Daneshvar pleaded guilty on October 24, 2016.

According to court documents,  Daneshvar engaged in a real estate investment fraud scheme from in or about April 2009 to January 2013.  Deneshvar lied and made false promises to eight victim investors to persuade them to give him approximately $1.9 million. Daneshvar told the victim investors the money would be used for bridge financing to purchase foreclosed property that would be “flipped,” or quickly resold for profit. Daneshvar promised the investors a monthly return on their investments.  In reality Daneshvar used the money to invest in the stock market, pay “returns” on the investments back to the investors, and to pay for his own personal expenses.

The victims of the real estate investment fraud included a 78-year old retiree who invested her retirement savings.  Another victim was a permanently disabled Marin Corps veteran who borrowed against his home, according to court documents.  When the victims became suspicious, Daneshvar them that their money was tied up in properties and that their investments had grown. Eventually, he confessed that he had been lying to the investors and running a Ponzi scheme.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton. Assistant U.S. Attorney Grace L. Hill prosecuted the case.

David Tyrone Johnson, 48, Washington, D.C. was indicted on charges that he conspired to commit bank fraud and other crimes arising from a real estate scheme involving a forged mortgage satisfaction document.

Johnson was named in a six-count indictment that was returned on August 9, 2016. He is charged with federal violations of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, engaging in illegal monetary transactions, and making a false statement, as well as uttering, which is a District of Columbia offense.  The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking all proceeds that can be traced to the fraud scheme. Johnson pled not guilty to the charges at his first court appearance.

According to the indictment, SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. loaned a friend of Johnson’s approximately $470,000 to purchase residential real estate in the 100 block of 57th Street SE in 2008.  By 2009, the friend had failed to repay the mortgage loans, and in 2010, SunTrust Mortgage filed a notice of foreclosure with the District of Columbia’s Recorder of Deeds. In April 2013, SunTrust Mortgage began the process of foreclosing on the mortgage and taking possession of the property, due to the friend’s failure to make good and timely payments on the mortgage loans.

The indictment alleges that sometime before October 2, 2013, Johnson caused the creation of two phony and forged certificates of satisfaction, which falsely represented that the SunTrust Mortgage loans at the property on 57th Street SE had been paid and that his friend owned the property “free and clear.”  The indictment also alleges that on October 2, 2013, Johnson filed these two phony certificates of satisfaction with the Recorder of Deeds.

In or about December 2013, after the fake certificates of satisfaction allowed the friend to sell the property without paying the outstanding mortgages, the title and escrow company wired out the sales proceeds of $337,105, of which approximately $170,688 was obtained by Johnson.

The indictment, which was unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced by U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Assistant Director in Charge Abbate expressed appreciation for the work performed by those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those working on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including former Paralegal Specialist Corinne Kleinman, Paralegal Specialist Kaitlyn Kruger, Litigation Tech Specialist Ron Royal, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Swanton, who is assisting with forfeiture issues. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Cheatham who is prosecuting the case.

Veronica Washington was charged by information in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and plead guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

According to the information, Washinton purchased residential real estate at 123 57th Street SE, Washington D.C. on February 20, 2008 and obtained two mortgage loans for approximately $470,000 total from SunTrust Mortgage. By 2009, she had failed to maintain timely mortgage payments and, in February 2010, she entered into a HAMP trial period plan.  By May 2010, she was again behind on her mortgage payments and, on May 7, 2010, a Notice of Foreclosure was filed with the DC Recorder of Deeds.  In April 2013, SunTrust Mortgage began the process of foreclosure.

Sometime before October 2, 2013, according to the information, two fake Certificates of Satisfaction of the mortgages were recorded which represented SunTrust had been paid and that Washington owned the property “free and clear.” The satisfactions contains forged signatures of someone purporting to be an individual authorized to sign for SunTrust Mortgage.

On or about October 11, 2013, Washington listed the property for sale for $425,000 – even though she owed in excess of $470,000 on the two SunTrust mortgages.  On or about November 10, 2013, Washington agreed to sell the property to a buyer for $379,000.  After signing documents to complete the sale in December 2013, the title company wired Washington the sales proceeds of over $337,000.

The charges to which Washington pled guilty carry a maximum possible sentence of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

 

 

David Bernier, 52, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pled guilty to a federal charge stemming from a scheme in which he forged military records and made false statements in an attempt to collect over $700,000 under a federal law meant to protect active duty military members from suffering losses through mortgage foreclosures.

The scheme involved Bernier’s claims that he was entitled to protection under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. Among other things, the law prohibits non-judicial foreclosures against service members who are in military service or within the applicable post-service period, as long as they originated their mortgages before their period of military service began.

In 2012, the United States settled two lawsuits against financial institutions accused of improperly foreclosing on mortgages of active duty military service personnel. The court agreements led to the creation of settlement funds out of which payments would be made to qualified individuals whose homes had been wrongfully foreclosed upon.

Bernier filed two such claims in 2014, involving foreclosures that took place in 2008 and 2009 of two condominiums he owned in Fort Lauderdale. In both claims, Bernier stated that the properties were foreclosed upon while he was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq. He also provided documentation claiming he had received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Citation for conduct in Iraq from July 2008 to March 2010. Under the settlement agreements, if the claims were valid, Bernier could have received a total of $730,000.

However, the financial institutions were unable to substantiate Bernier’s claims, leading him to submit follow-up documents and make statements attesting to his service. In fact, an investigation determined that the documents Bernier had submitted were forgeries. At the time that Bernier supposedly was in Iraq, he was in fact working in the state of Washington. No money was paid to Bernier, whose actions became the subject of a criminal investigation.

Bernier pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one charge of making a false statement. The charge carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faces a likely range of 24 to 30 months in prison and a potential fine of $10,000 to $95,000. The Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly scheduled sentencing for October 4, 2016.

The guilty plea was announced by Channing D. Phillips, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General for the Department of Justice, and James Springs, Inspector General for the National Archives and Records Administration.  In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips, Inspector General Horowitz, and Inspector General Springs commended those who investigated the case from the Offices of Inspector General for the Department of Justice and the National Archives and Records Administration. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Document Management Analyst John Lowell, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter C. Lallas, who is prosecuting the matter.

Nine individuals were sentenced on federal charges stemming from a mortgage fraud scheme involving 45 properties and $16 million in mortgage loans used for the purchase of residential real estate in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

The sentencings occurred before the Honorable Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Defendants include:

  • Edward Dacy, 77, West Melbourne, Florida. He was sentenced on August 6, 2015 to six years in prison. Dacy was found guilty by a jury of 10 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, and mail fraud. Upon completion of his prison term, Dacy will be placed on three years of supervised release. In addition, Judge Walton ordered that he pay $2,730,345 in restitution and an identical amount as a forfeiture money judgment.
  • Frank Davis, Jr., 49, Washington, D.C. He was sentenced on August 7, 2015 to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Upon completion of his prison term, Davis will be placed on three years of supervised release. Judge Walton also ordered that Davis pay $2,730,345 in restitution and an amount of $2,296,463 as a forfeiture money judgment;
  • Frederick Robinson, Sr., 52, Montgomery, Alabama. He was sentenced on July 31, 2015 to 27 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Upon completion of his prison term, Robinson will be placed on three years of supervised release. Robinson also was ordered to pay $925,311 in restitution and an amount of $971,900 as a forfeiture money judgment.
  • Lonnie Johnson, 47, Greensboro, North Carolina. He was sentenced on July 15, 2015 to one year and one day in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Upon completion of his prison term, Johnson will be placed on three years of supervised release. In addition, Judge Walton ordered that he pay $277,000 in restitution.
  • Cheryl E. Morrison, 54, West Melbourne, Florida. She was sentenced on Aug. 5, 2015 to five years of probation for conspiracy to commit mail fraud; she was required to serve 90 days of that time in home detention. She also must pay $42,600 in restitution;
  • Howard Tutman, III, 54, Woodstock, Maryland. He was sentenced on Aug. 4, 2015 to five years of probation for conspiracy to commit bank fraud; he was required to serve 20 weekends in jail. In addition, Judge Walton ordered Tutman to pay $484,370 in restitution and $606,414 in forfeiture;
  • Pauline Pilate, 50, Washington, D.C. She was sentenced on July 16, 2015 to three years of probation for conspiracy to commit bank fraud; she was required to serve eight weekends in jail. In addition, Judge Walton ordered that she pay $1 million in restitution and an identical amount as a forfeiture money judgment;
  • A. Conrad Austin, 49, Bowie, Maryland. He was sentenced on May 15, 2015 to five years of probation for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud; he was required to serve four weekends in jail. In addition, Judge Walton ordered that he pay $5,001 in restitution and an identical amount as a forfeiture money judgment.
  • Anthony Young, 47, Clinton, Maryland. He was sentenced today to five years of probation for conspiracy to commit bank fraud; he is required to serve eight weekends in jail. In addition, Judge Walton ordered that he pay $300,600 in restitution.

Davis and Robinson purchased properties in the names of general partnerships; Davis and Robinson then recruited individuals, or straw buyers, to re-purchase these same properties for higher amounts, funded by fraudulently obtained mortgage loans, by promising the buyers that they would not be required to: make financial contributions toward the purchase of the properties; pay the monthly mortgage payments or expenses; or maintain the properties. These mortgage loans were obtained by fraudulent statements and documents, including false loan applications and real estate contracts, phony cashier’s checks and verifications from banks, fabricated tax returns, and letters from a Certified Public Accountant.

Davis recruited Young, who assisted with recruiting other straw buyers; Pilate, who obtained her real estate license in order to create real estate sales contracts for the straw buyers, and Johnson, a bank employee who assisted in creating false verifications of deposits. In order to obtain mortgage loans in the names of some of the straw buyers, Robinson recruited Austin, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), to create false CPA letters, inflated tax returns, and unjustified financial statements. Tutman was the loan officer on 14 loans or loan attempts, and knew that the borrowers were merely straw buyers for Davis and Robinson and the loan applications contained inflated salaries.

Morrison worked at the settlement company with Dacy, her husband. The settlement company received the funding from the mortgage lender and should have collected the buyers’ cash contributions; it was under the obligation to disburse the loan money only if all of the mortgage lender’s conditions were met and the buyer’s financial contributions collected. Morrison and Dacy handled the straw buyers’ settlement of the properties, with knowledge that the straw buyers did not pay the cash contribution as required by the lenders.

The sentencings conclude a three-year investigation relating to this mortgage fraud scheme involving the defrauding of banks, mortgage lenders, and the Federal Housing Administration, part of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, of money by obtaining mortgage loans on residential real estate properties through false loan applications and documents and fraudulent settlements. These actions ultimately caused a loss to the banks, lenders, and FHA when mortgages were not paid. Some of the fraudulently-obtained mortgage loans were later resold in the secondary mortgage market to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

In this case, a group of greedy individuals teamed up with a real estate agent, a certified public accountant, employees of a settlement company, and others to carry out a far-reaching scheme that caused millions of dollars in losses to banks and other lending institutions,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent H. Cohen, Jr. “These defendants took money that could have been used to help honest, hard-working people attain the dream of home ownership. They used straw buyers and falsified documents to carry out their long-running fraud. The prosecution in this case demonstrates our resolve to aggressively deal with those who engage in mortgage fraud at the expense of the entire community.”

This was a multi-tiered scheme with multiple individuals playing a role, and every single one of them underestimated the ability and commitment of law enforcement to protect innocent victims and ultimately the taxpayers from mortgage fraud schemes,” said Olga Acevedo, Special Agent in Charge of the Mid-Atlantic Region, Office of the Inspector General, Federal Housing Finance Agency. “We are proud to be a part of the multi-agency effort to hold accountable those who engage in mortgage and bank fraud. FHFA-OIG will continue to carry out this work until all are held accountable.

This sentencing was the result of outstanding investigative work conducted by the HUD OIG, and our law enforcement partners,” said Cary Rubenstein, Special Agent in Charge of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD-OIG). “This collaborative effort sends a clear message that we will commit the necessary resources to make sure that the fraudsters are brought to justice and are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Even though this $16 million mortgage fraud conspiracy targeted lenders, banks, and the Federal Housing Administration, the result of these criminal actions hurts our entire community,” said Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that these criminal schemes do not go unpunished.”

In announcing the sentences, Acting U.S. Attorney Cohen, Special Agent in Charge Acevedo, Special Agent in Charge Rubenstein, and Assistant Director in Charge McCabe expressed appreciation for the work performed by the Special Agents and analysts from the Offices of Inspector General of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development and the FBI, who investigated the case. They also expressed appreciation for the work of the U.S. Secret Service and the Offices of Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security, which assisted in the investigation. They acknowledged the efforts of those working on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Paralegal Specialists Ida Anbarian, Donna Galindo, Corinne Kleinman, Kristy Penny, Tasha Harris, and Heather Sales, former Paralegal Specialist Sarah Reis, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Saler, Thomas Swanton, and Arvind K. Lal, who assisted with forfeiture issues. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Virginia Cheatham and David A. Last, who tried the case against Edward Dacy and handled the plea negotiations with Conrad Austin, and Virginia Cheatham who prosecuted the case.

Edward Dacy, 77, most recently of West Melbourne, Florida, was sentenced to six years in prison on charges stemming from a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud investment scheme involving 45 properties and $16 million in mortgage loans used for the purchase of residential real estate in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Dacy was found guilty on March 25, 2015, following a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, of 10 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, and mail fraud.  His conviction completes a three-year investigation relating to this mortgage fraud scheme. A total of nine individuals have admitted their guilt through guilty pleas or were found guilty after trial. Upon completion of his prison term, Dacy will be placed on three years of supervised release. In addition, Judge Walton ordered that he pay $2,730,345 in restitution and an identical amount as a forfeiture money judgment. Continue Reading…

Johnny Gutierrez, 50, Stafford, Virginia, a former loan officer at the Export-Import Bank of the United States pleaded guilty in federal court for accepting more than $78,000 in bribes in return for recommending the approval of unqualified loan applications to the bank, among other misconduct.

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Edward Dacy, 76, most recently of West Melbourne, Florida, has been found guilty by a jury of 10 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, and mail fraud stemming from a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme involving 45 properties and $16 million in mortgage loans used for the purchase of residential real estate in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

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Peter Allen, Southfield, Michigan, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release for his participation in a conspiracy to commit bank fraud wherein Allen and his co-conspirators defrauded National City Bank and Fannie Mae.

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Associate Attorney General Tony West outlined the Justice Department’s approach to resolving the remaining cases related to Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) misconduct that contributed to the financial crisis.  West declared that the department would not hesitate to bring litigation against these firms if these principles were not met.

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