Realtor Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison for $2.4 Million Mortgage Loan Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 13, 2011|
RICHMOND, VA—Jodi D. Robinson, 38, of Richmond, Va., was sentenced today to 51 months in prison for her participation in a five-year mortgage loan fraud. Neil J. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Kenneth R. Taylor, Special Agent in Charge of HUD’s Office of Inspector General; Daniel Cortez, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service; and Michael Morehart, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief United States District Judge James R. Spencer.
According to court records, Robinson admitted to obtaining 16 different fraudulent real estate loans totaling $2.4 million in a four-part scheme that defrauded Washington Mutual Bank; Sun Trust Bank; the Federal National Mortgage Association, known as Fannie Mae; the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, known as Freddie Mac; and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 8 Rental Voucher program for needy individuals. The total loan losses were approximately $1.2 million. The total losses to HUD were approximately $105,000.
Court records indicate that Robinson was at the hub of a multi-faceted fraud scheme. In a basic version of the scheme, Robinson would take a piece of property she owned, find an unqualified buyer, doctor the loan application for that person to inflate the person’s creditworthiness, sell it at a higher price, pay off the first mortgage, and pocket the rest. She also used nominees and straw purchasers in these transactions to disguise her role.
There were four overlapping parts of the scheme. First, on real estate transactions where Robinson was simply the real estate agent, she and her accomplices would misrepresent the creditworthiness of the borrowers in a wide variety of ways. A frequent misrepresentation on the loan applications related to the borrowers’ employment status and involved the overstatement of the monthly employment income.
The second part of the scheme related to real estate transactions in which Robinson was not merely an agent, but was buying and selling properties that she rented out. On these, she secretly used nominees or straw parties to purchase the rental properties using mortgage loans.
The mortgage loan applications were thus fraudulent in that they did not disclose Robinson as the real party in interest; her true creditworthiness, especially in concealing all the other loans for which she was secretly liable on other nominee transactions; and the fact that the properties were not owner-occupied. In addition, the financial information on the nominee borrowers was falsified to fraudulently enhance the buyers’ creditworthiness, in the same way as in the selling agent realty transactions.
A third part of the scheme was a fraud on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 8 Rental Voucher program for needy individuals. After the nominee purchases were completed, Robinson maintained the ownership interest, paying the mortgage and managing the property. With many of the properties, Robinson applied with HUD to have herself and her properties qualified to participate in HUD’s subsidized rental program, making her eligible to receive tenant referrals and direct rental payments from HUD. In this process, Robinson induced HUD to transmit the rental subsidy directly to her. She then used to the money to make the monthly mortgage payments to the banks.
The fourth part of the scheme also related to the rental properties. To make more money on these properties, Robinson would “sell” the properties at a higher price to another nominee/straw party, who would fraudulently obtain another mortgage loan in the same way previously described. Robinson thereby obtained access to the proceeds of the new loan. Thus, as part of the sham sale, Robinson would take the proceeds of the new mortgage loan, pay off the existing mortgage loan, pay the transactional expenses, and then convert the remainder of the money to herself.
The case was investigated by HUD’s Office of the Inspector General, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the FBI’s Richmond Division. Assistant United States Attorney David T. Maguire prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.