Inkster Woman Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud, Arson,
Marijuana Trafficking and Money Laundering
The lead defendant of six defendants charged with mortgage fraud, arson, marijuana trafficking and money laundering was sentenced today, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced.
Joining in the announcement were Special Agent in Charge Robert Corso, Drug Enforcement Administration, Inspector in Charge Eddie C. Woodson, United States Postal Service and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Frost, United States Secret Service.
Linda Abdullah, aka Linda Holt, age 41, of Inkster, was sentenced on her guilty pleas to one count of bank fraud, one count of arson, a conspiracy to distribute marijuana and money laundering conspiracy. United States District Judge Sean F. Cox imposed a sentence of 97 months of imprisonment on each of the four counts, to be served concurrently. After the completion of her sentence, she must serve four years of supervised release. In addition, she will be subject to a restitution order to repay the banks for the losses incurred in her mortgage fraud and arson scheme.
In imposing the maximum sentence suggested by the advisory sentencing guidelines, Judge Cox noted the seriousness of her crimes, her role as the leader and organizer of the offenses, and the fact that she involved her family, friends and other associates in her criminal activity. All five other defendants in the case, including her father, husband and sister, previously pleaded guilty and all but one already received their sentences for their roles in this case. The sentences imposed on her co-defendants ranged from 62 months imprisonment for Rolando Hampton, age 29, of Inkster down to eight months of home confinement for Eric Waldon, age 46, of Detroit.
According to the defendant's guilty pleas and facts presented in connection with sentencing, from August 18, 2006 through February 27, 2009, Linda Abdullah devised and participated in a scheme to defraud various lenders by acting as a mortgage broker and arranging mortgage loans to purchase properties for straw buyers based on false statements pertaining to their employment, income, the source of their down payments and their intentions to reside in the homes. She knowingly aided and abetted the arson of a rental home (which had been previously obtained with a fraudulent mortgage), located on Sussex street in Detroit, by fire on March 14, 2007.
Further, from June of 2008 through August of 2009, she was the leader of a drug organization that shipped marijuana from Arizona to the Detroit area, typically using United States Postal Service Express Mail Parcels weighing 10 to 20 pounds. At least 40 such parcels were shipped, using a system of falsified business names and return addresses to disguise the true sender and receiver of the parcels. During the same time period, proceeds of the illegal drug and fraud activity, exceeding $400,000, were deposited in Detroit-area bank accounts. The money was then withdrawn at the corresponding branch bank in the Phoenix, Arizona area, in order to pay for the marijuana being purchased by the organization. The money laundering was conducted in cash deposits and withdrawals of less than $10,000, to avoid the requirement of filing currency transaction reports with the Internal Revenue Service.
"Thanks to the collaboration of many law enforcement agencies, these multiple and complex schemes were detected and dismantled," McQuade said. "We are fortunate to have such a high level of cooperation in our law enforcement community."
The two-year investigation was the result of extensive cooperation between federal, state and local authorities. The matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, the Michigan State Police, Grosse Ille Police Department, Brownstown Police Department, Riverview Police Department, Inkster Police Department, Detroit Fire Department Arson Section, Wayne County Airport Police, Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Hamtramck Police Department, Plymouth Township Police Department and Waterford Police Department.