Real estate agent Christopher Kwegan, age 59, of Randallstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty Tuesday to his participation in a mortgage fraud scheme, dating back to 2008.
Kwegan pleaded guilty to charges arising from the fraudulent purchase of a Baltimore City property using fraudulent loan documentation and a straw purchaser, according to a release from the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
The guilty plea was announced by Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office, Special Agent in Charge Cary A. Rubenstein of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, and Special Agent in Charge Brian Murphy of the United States Secret Service - Baltimore Field Office.
According to the announcement, in the summer of 2008, Mr. K.D. agreed to let Kwegan sell his row house in Baltimore City on Washington Boulevard for $75,000. Mr. K.D. had purchased the property 10 years earlier for $11,500.
However, the release stated that rather than trying to sell the property at the actual market price, Kwegan requested assistance from accountant Cecil Chester and real estate agent/consultant Michael Camphor, who were already operating a mortgage fraud scheme.
From here, Kwegan used the personal identifiers of an individual recruited by Chester – Ms. D.B. – to buy the property as a straw purchaser, the announcement stated.
As background, a straw purchaser is “an individual whose name and personal identifiers are used by fraudsters to acquire the property, but who does not contribute his or her own funds to the purchase and who has no intention of actually residing in the property,” the release said.
While Ms. D.B. lacked the necessary assets to pay for the down payments and closing costs, or even the income to keep up the mortgage payments, which Kwegan and Chester knew, the attorney’s office said they still set the price not at $75,000, but at $250,000.
The release explained that since Chester provided a mortgage loan broker located in Towson with a false loan application and fraudulent supporting document, a bank wired $242,500 to finance the purchase of the property, at the settlement on Sept. 30, 2008.
Instead of the rightful parties, only $15,773.65 was disbursed to Mr. K.D., the seller of the property, while $145,000 was wired to an entity identified as “CAK,” which were Kwegan’s initials. These funds were transferred into Kwegan’s bank account. Kwegan then wrote a check to Chester for $35,000.
And ultimately, because no payments were made on the mortgage, the property went into foreclosure and remains unsold at this time, resulting in a loss of between $150,000 and $235,000.
As a result of, the report states that Kwegan faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud, and for wire fraud.
U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar has scheduled sentencing for Nov. 4, 2016.