Leader in Mortgage Fraud Scheme Pleads Guilty
Paid Over 15 Straw Purchasers to Buy 25 Properties With False Documents and Obtained Over $3.8 Million in Fraud Proceeds
Baltimore, Maryland - Osman Sharrieff Al-Bari, age 35, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to mail fraud arising from the fraudulent purchase of 25 properties in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
According to his plea agreement, Al-Bari, along with Terrence White, Timothy Reed and others paid straw purchasers $10,000 per property to purchase houses for them. Many of the loan applications for the straw buyers had misrepresentations concerning the buyers’ income and assets. Al-Bari and others had the straw buyers list false asset information claiming large account balances at various banks and used a co-conspirator who worked at one of the banks to send “verification letters” falsely confirming that the straw buyers had such assets.
For example, co-defendant Sabrina Weinberg purchased four properties for Al-Bari and others and was paid approximately $40,000 for the purchases. Weinberg and other straw purchasers used fraudulent loan applications and closing documents to qualify for the mortgages. The mortgage documents had false income amounts, misrepresentations concerning Weinberg’s other mortgage loans (which she did not disclose), and false claims about her assets. Co-conspirator Kara McIntosh prepared many of the mortgage documents. Each property was listed as Weinberg’s primary residence.
Al-Bari, White and Reed also created false invoices to claim that their company, Brotherly Investment Group, performed “renovations” on some of the properties. Using these false invoices, Al-Bari and his co-conspirators were “repaid” at closing for the purported renovations. Al-Bari, Reed, White, and others received wire transfers of $515,820 for the four Weinberg properties.
Al-Bari and others repeated this fraud scheme with over fifteen straw buyers and approximately twenty-five properties in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.
Al-Bari was an organizer and leader in the scheme and from 2006 to 2008, Al-Bari, White, Reed and others received approximately $3,830,418 in fraudulent funds as part of the scheme. Many of the purchased properties have been foreclosed upon. Al-Bari is responsible for $2.5 million in losses from the scheme.
Al-Bari faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for mail fraud. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has scheduled sentencing for October 5, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.
Timothy Reed, age 44, of Beltsville, Terrence White, age 36, of Oxon Hill, Sabrina Weinberg, age 44 and Kara McIntosh, age 47, both of Bethesda, have all pleaded guilty to mail fraud in connection with their participation in this scheme. No sentencing dates have been set.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office - Economic Crimes Unit and the U.S. Secret Service for their investigative work and assistance. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Kwame J. Manley, who is prosecuting the case.