Hagerstown Woman Convicted for Fraudulently Obtaining Over $1.1 Million in Loans for Her Residence and Bankruptcy Fraud
Baltimore, Maryland - Olusola Idowu, age 57, of Hagerstown, Maryland, was convicted by a federal jury late yesterday on charges of wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, making false statements in a bankruptcy proceeding, filing a false tax return and failing to file a corporate tax return.
The guilty verdict was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge C. André Martin of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation.
“The law is clear on the issue of taxable income and who is required to file and pay taxes: there is no gray area on the subject,” stated C. André Martin, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Washington DC Field Office. “This conviction sends a message that the IRS is working to make sure that all taxpayers file and pay their fair share of taxes.”
Idowu was the owner and president of SSS Nutrition & Dietetic Care Services (SSS Nutrition). SSS Nutrition was a health care services company specializing in the “Optifast” weight management program. According to testimony at her five day trial, between November 2003 and December 2008, Idowu made false representations to financial companies in order to obtain mortgages and loans and lied to, and concealed information from, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in relation to her Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition.
According to trial evidence, on November 7, 2003, Idowu filed a voluntary Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition in United States Bankruptcy Court in Maryland, then on May 17, 2004, Idowu requested the dismissal of her bankruptcy petition, which was granted by the bankruptcy court on May 18, 2004. Witnesses testified that on June 17, 2004, Idowu received a $400,000 loan from Option One Mortgage for the purchase of a residence at 11047 Sani Lane in Hagerstown, which falsely represented that her son was employed as a nutritionist at SSS Nutrition, had five years experience, earned $10,000 per month, and had $100,000 in a bank account. On that same date, evidence showed that Idowu obtained two bridge loans from Hyattsville Properties, LLC; in the amount of $85,000 and $50,000. On September 9, 2004, Idowu obtained another $14,000 loan from Hyattsville Properties, LLC and on August 26, 2005, Idowu obtained a loan for $50,000 with Hyattsville Properties, LLC.
On June 29, 2004, testimony showed that Idowu sought and obtained an order vacating the May 18, 2004 order dismissing the bankruptcy petition. On September 30, 2004, Idowu falsely testified in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, that she filed tax returns on behalf of her business for tax years 2001through 2003, with the Internal Revenue Service, when in fact, she had not filed corporate tax returns for those years.
Evidence presented at trial showed that on January 19, 2005, Idowu obtained a $512,550 loan from Long Beach Mortgage for the refinancing of the property at 11047 Sani Lane in Hagerstown, falsely representing on the refinancing loan documents that her son was employed as a nutritionist at SSS Nutrition, had five years experience, earned $11,120 per month, and had $138,000 in a bank account.
According to evidence presented at trial, on June 14, 2006, Idowu filed her 2005 federal individual income tax return, falsely claiming her son as her dependent and reporting a total income of $19,000, when in fact, evidence showed that her income was substantially more than that.
Idowu faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison on each of two counts of wire fraud; a maximum of five years in prison for bankruptcy fraud and for making a false statement in a bankruptcy proceeding; a maximum of three years in prison for filing a false tax return; and a maximum of five years in prison for failure to file a corporate tax return. U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis has scheduled sentencing for August 9, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.
United States Attorney Rosenstein thanked the Greenbelt Office of the United States Trustee Program, the Department of Justice agency that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees, for its assistance in this investigation and prosecution.
The Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force was established to unify the agencies that regulate and investigate mortgage fraud and promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of mortgage fraud schemes. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Task Force, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect consumers from fraud and promote the integrity of the credit markets. Information about mortgage fraud prosecutions is available http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/Mortgage-Fraud/index.html.
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.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Peter M. Nothstein and Bonnie S. Greenberg, who are prosecuting the case.