Criminal Justice News

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Five Plead Guilty and One Man Indicted in $1.5 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme


ALEXANDRIA, VA—Five individuals have pled guilty to conspiring together to secure more than $1.5 million in a mortgage fraud scheme involving a home in Gainesville, Virginia. A federal grand jury has also indicted an individual for his alleged role in the real estate transaction.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement.

According to the four-count federal indictment returned on May 17, 2012, Jea Min Lee, 34, of Centreville, Virginia, is charged with engaging in a conspiracy to defraud financial institutions into making fraudulent mortgage loans. The conspiracy allegedly involved a mortgage broker, an unqualified strawbuyer, an executive from a title company, and multiple intermediaries who prepared and approved fraudulent loan documents. According to court documents, the total amount of mortgage loans approved through the alleged conspiracy exceeded $1.5 million. Financial institutions suffered losses of over $700,000 as a result of the conspiracy.

The indictment alleges that Jea Min Lee and his co-conspirators prepared and submitted false, fraudulent, and misleading mortgage loan applications for an unqualified buyer who would not have otherwise been approved for the loan. The fraudulent mortgage loan applications contained false information regarding the applicant’s employment, income, assets, immigration status, and intent to live in the property as a primary residence. According to court documents, one month after conspirators fraudulently obtained $1.2 million in mortgage loan proceeds, they applied for and fraudulently received a $350,000 home equity loan, the proceeds of which were distributed among some of the conspirators.

According to the indictment, Jea Min Lee and his conspirators created fake documents to corroborate false information contained in fraudulent loan applications including a fake lease, fabricated bank statement, and a bogus W-2. One conspirator also falsely verified another conspirator’s employment in order to qualify for the loan.

Peter Kim, 39, of Fairfax, Virginia; Bok Hee Lee, 37, of South Riding, Virginia; Jai Sek Lee, 50, of Ashburn, Virginia; Jai Song, 41, of McLean, Virginia; and Erin Cullen, 32, of Fairfax, Virginia, have each pled guilty this week to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and face a maximum penalty of five years in prison when they are sentenced in August 2012.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant United States Attorney Uzo Asonye is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

The public is reminded that an indictment only contains charges and is not evidence of guilt, and neither are guilty pleas in related cases. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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