A former real estate agent will spend the next 57 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, stemming from a massive residential mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded lenders, the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac of nearly $2.5 million.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Edgar Tibakweitira, a/k/a “Edgar Julian,” “Charles Edgar Tibakweitira,” and “Edgar Gaudious Tibakweitira,” age 46, of Severn, Maryland, used his position of as a real estate agent to build a group of co-conspirators who obtained mortgages for properties at values well above the properities’ actual market value and pocketed the excess funds.
According to his plea agreement, from March 2007 to November 2008, Tibakweitira recruited his wife Flavia Makundi, and others, including Mokorya Cosmos Wambura, Cane Mwihava and Annika Boas, to act as straw purchasers of homes.
Tibakweitira admitted that he obtained inflated appraisals and created false addendums to the sales contracts requiring large amounts of loan proceeds to be disbursed for renovations or repairs.
Tibakweitira and his co-conspirators used stolen or false identities, false documents – including W-2 forms, earnings statements, and bank statements – and false credit information to induce lenders to provide residential mortgage loans to the straw buyers.
One of Tibakweitira’s co-conspirators, Carmen Johnson, used her company CJ Lending to create fictitious lines of credit for the straw buyers to fraudulently enhance their credit worthiness.
Large amounts of the proceeds of the fraudulently obtained loans were disbursed from escrow accounts to Destiny Property Management, LLC and Destiny Property Management Company, both of which were shell companies owned by Tibakweitira. The funds were supposed to be used for repairs and renovations to the subject properties, but that never happened.
Instead, the funds were paid to Tibakweitira and his co-conspirators. According to the DOJ, the defendants did not make or stopped making the mortgage payments and allowed the properties, including 10 properties located in Severna Park, Baltimore, Hyattsville and Silver Spring, to go into foreclosure.
As a result of the conspiracy, lenders provided over $3.5 million for fraudulently obtained loans to Tibakweitira and his co-conspirators. Those loans resulted in losses of almost $2.5 million to the lenders, the FHA, which insured some of the loans, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both of which purchased some of the loans in the secondary mortgage market.
In addition to being sentenced to 57 months in prison, Tibakweitirawas also ordered to pay $2,482,856.05 in restitution.
Tibakweitira co-conspirators Flavia Makundi, age 43, of Severn Park, Maryland, Ayoub Luziga, age 36, of Bowie, Maryland, Raymond Abraham, age 48, of Silver Spring, Maryland, Mokorya Cosmas Wambura, age 42, of Takoma Park, Maryland, and Abdallah Suleiman Kitwara, age 44, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme.
Luziga was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $999,726. Kitwara was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $290,954 in restitution. Abraham was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $999,726 in restitution. Makundi was sentenced to time served. Annika Boas, age 37, of Mount Rainier, Maryland, was convicted after trial. Boas was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $511,147.
In a second scheme, Carmen Johnson also partnered with another real estate agent, Nsane Phanuel Ligate, to conduct a similar scheme, which involved two properties in Baltimore, resulting in losses to HUD and the lender of $352,091.58.
Ligate co-conspirators Cane Mwihava, age 44, of Bowie, Maryland, Larry Johnson, age 58, of Capital Heights, and Gladyness Silaa, age 36, of Bowie, Maryland also pleaded guilty to their roles in the second mortgage fraud scheme. Larry Johnson was sentenced to eight months in prison consecutive to the current sentence he is serving on an unrelated case and ordered to pay restitution of $352,091. Silaa was sentenced to six months home detention and ordered to pay $378,602 in restitution. Mwihava was sentenced to six months home detention and ordered to pay $352,091 in restitution.
Johnson, age 48, was convicted for her participation in both schemes and is due to be sentenced on June 3, 2015, the DOJ said.
The sentences were 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; Special Agent in Charge Kathy Michalko 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 Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.