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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 5, 2013

Chicago man sentenced on mortgage fraud and identity theft charges

         BUFFALO, N.Y.-- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Julius Willard, 55, of Chicago, Il., who was convicted of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, was sentenced to 94 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara, and ordered to pay over $7,000,000 in restitution.

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Maura K. O'Donnell, who handled the case, stated that the defendant submitted fraudulent mortgage applications to various financial institutions, including HSBC Bank, while he worked as a mortgage broker in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.  Willard's conduct resulted in a loss of over $7,000,000 to the victim financial institutions.

            The defendant was part of a scheme that recruited individuals to apply for mortgages and purchase income properties. Willard then submitted mortgage applications on behalf of the borrowers, which included false information as to borrowers' employment, salary, and residency; and fraudulent pay stubs, employment verification forms, and bank statements as supporting documentation.

            At the time he engaged in this conduct, the defendant was ineligible to work as a licensed mortgage broker, due to his criminal record. Willard utilized identifying information of another individual to gain employment with a mortgage brokerage firm and to carry out his scheme to defraud the financial institutions.

            This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

           
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven L. Lanser, along with Special Agents of the Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, Atlanta, Georgia Office, and the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia.