Man Pleads Guilty to Personally Profiting $882,387 from Straw Buyer Scam

Allison Tussey —  July 23, 2013 — Leave a comment

Robert Mikail, 41, formerly of Ashburn, Virginia, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with his role in fraudulent mortgage loan transactions involving approximately 36 properties in northern Virginia and nearly $20 million in fraudulently obtained loans.

Mikail was indicted on April 4, 2013, by a federal grand jury on conspiracy and bank fraud charges. Mikail faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when he is sentenced on October 11, 2013.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Mikail admitted to conspiring with loan officers, including Bing-Sing “Cindy” Wang, to defraud mortgage lenders as part of a scheme to profit from fraudulently obtained mortgage loans and the purchase of residential real estate in northern Virginia.

As part of the scheme, Mikail admitted to recruiting five straw buyers to serve as nominal purchasers in these transactions and to working with the loan officers to falsify critical information on the straw buyers’ loan applications in order to get the loans approved and the transactions closed. In particular, virtually all the fraudulent loan applications falsely identified Mikail’s Ashburn, Virginia jewelry store, Opus Jewelry, as the borrower’s employer, which Mikail would then falsely verify to the lenders as part of the loan approval process.

In total, Mikail admitted to engineering the purchase of approximately 36 homes in Ashburn, Virginia, from 2005 through 2007 and to obtaining from lenders approximately $19.9 million in loan proceeds on the basis of fraudulent loan applications. While Mikail admitted to personally profiting by approximately $882,387 from these transactions, all the loans ultimately defaulted, resulting in significant losses to the lenders.

Co-conspirator Wang, the owner of Lifetime Financial Services, Herndon, Virginia, pleaded guilty to related charges on November 20, 2012, and was sentenced to 24 months in prison on February 26, 2013.

Neil H. MacBride, 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 FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorney Paul J. Nathanson is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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