Man Admits Stealing Title to Homes Then Obtaining HELOCs

Allison Tussey —  January 18, 2014 — Leave a comment

Kil Seok (“Michael”) Seo, 49, formerly of Fairfax, Virginia, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges in connection with his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Seo was indicted on December 10, 2009, by a federal grand jury on charges related to a scheme to defraud mortgage lenders. Seo faces a maximum penalty of 32 years’ imprisonment, which includes a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment, when he is sentenced on April 3, 2014.

According to the indictment and a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Seo, an Annandale, Virginia, mortgage broker, schemed with others, including Peter Jin, to defraud lenders by transferring title to residential properties into the names of victims without their knowledge or consent and then opening home equity lines of credit in victims’ names, again without their knowledge or consent. Seo and Jin then opened bank accounts in the victims’ names for the purpose of receiving the fraudulently-obtained loan proceeds. As part of the scheme, Seo obtained from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles an identification card in the name of a victim but with Seo’s photo. He used that fraudulent ID to take out a home equity loan in the victim’s name.

In total, the scheme resulted in losses to the lenders of nearly $900,000. Seo has resided in South Korea since 2009, and he was extradited to the United States in November, 2013 to face the criminal charges contained in the December 2009 indictment.

In 2009, co-defendant Jin pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft charges in connection with his role in the offense and was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment.

Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge James C. Cacheris.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Timothy D. Belevetz is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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