Carmen Johnson, 48, Gambrills, Maryland, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George Jerrod Hazel to 57 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy, wire fraud and making a false statement on a loan application, arising from two residential mortgage fraud schemes.
Judge Hazel also entered an order that Johnson pay $2,315,660.94 in restitution.
According to the evidence presented at her seven day trial, in the first scheme, which operated from March 2007 to November 2008, Johnson conspired with real estate agent Edgar Tibakweitira and others to fraudulently obtain residential mortgage loans by making false statements during the loan application and approval process. In the second scheme, witnesses testified that between April and July 2008 Johnson conspired with real estate agent Nsane Phanuel Ligate and others in a similar mortgage fraud scheme involving two properties in Baltimore.
Johnson owned and operated CJ Lending and its predecessor Able Estate & Company, which provided credit repair services. Witnesses testified that in both schemes Carmen Johnson reported to credit bureaus and provided her fellow co-conspirators with false credit histories showing backdated lines of credit that were used to convince lenders to give mortgage loans. As part of both schemes, Johnson’s co-conspirators used stolen or false identity information, false documents – including W-2 forms, earnings and banks statements – and false credit information to induce lenders to provide mortgage loans to straw purchasers. Johnson’s co-conspirators also inflated the sales prices of the properties by creating false documents for repairs and renovations that were never made. After the settlement, the conspirators divided up the cash received for the purported repairs.
As a result of both schemes, losses to financial institutions totaled $2,309,646.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Cary A. Rubenstein of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General; Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Rene Febles of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General; Acting Special Agent in Charge James Murray of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office; John L. Phillips, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, U.S. Department of the Treasury – Office of Inspector General; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Ivan Arvelo of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised HUD-OIG, FHFA-OIG, Treasury OIG, U.S. Secret Service and HSI Baltimore for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Di Gregory, Investigative Counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency Inspector General, who prosecuted the case.