Former Short Sale Specialist Convicted of Mortgage and Tax Fraud
Ashburn Resident Did Not Report More Than $720,000 Earned from Scheme
An Ashburn, Virginia resident was convicted today by a federal jury on 13 charges related to mortgage fraud, passing fictitious financial instruments, and tax fraud, the Department of Justice announced.
Charise Stone, 46, was indicted on April 15, 2014. According to court records and evidence at trial, Stone targeted distressed homeowners from 2007 to 2010 who owed more on their mortgage loan than the market value of the home with false promises of financial recovery. Stone acquired distressed homeowners’ properties in her own name or under entities she controlled, made false representations to mortgage lenders in order to induce approval of the short sales, and then re-sold the properties – often the same day or the next – to new buyers at a price above the short sale amount, in violation of agreements made with mortgage lenders.
Jose Marinay owned a settlement company that closed every short sale transaction for Stone. Marinay pleaded guilty to wire-fraud conspiracy on May 27, 2014. At his and Stone’s direction, fraudulent HUD-1 settlement statements were prepared to facilitate the transactions. Marinay destroyed some of the incriminating documents after closings. Financial institutions suffered losses of at least $2.2 million from the scheme. Stone profited more than $700,000 from these transactions but failed to file individual income tax returns. She also sent fictitious bonds to the IRS in an attempt to pay off her tax liability, and she sent fake international promissory notes to creditors purporting to satisfy her credit card debt as well as her mortgage loan.
Stone faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each of the wire fraud and wire-fraud conspiracy charges, 30 years in prison for the charges of false statements to a bank, 25 years in prison for the fictitious obligation charges, three years for the charge of corruptly impeding the internal revenue laws, and one year for each count of willful failure to file a tax return at her Aug. 14 sentencing.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Director in Charge Andrew G. McCabe of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service -Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Washington, D.C. Field Office, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and IRS-C I. Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye and Assistant Chief Todd Ellinwood of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.