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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 14, 2015

Former Virginia Short Sale Specialist Sentenced to Prison for Mortgage and Tax Fraud

An Ashburn, Virginia, resident was sentenced to prison today for mortgage and tax fraud, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Charise Stone, 46, was convicted by a federal jury on May 27 of 13 counts of mortgage fraud, passing fictitious financial instruments and tax fraud.  U.S. Senior District Judge Claude M. Hilton of the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced Stone to serve five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered her to forfeit $721,552.55 and pay $2,330,722 in restitution to the victim financial institutions and $143,218 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  

According to court records and evidence introduced at trial, from 2007 to 2010, Stone targeted distressed homeowners who owed more on their mortgage loan than the market value of the home with false promises of financial recovery.  Stone acquired the 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 resold 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.

Co-defendant 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.  Stone destroyed some of the incriminating documents after closings.  Financial institutions suffered at least $2.2 million in losses from the scheme.  Stone profited more than $700,000 from these transactions and 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 sent fake international promissory notes to creditors purporting to satisfy her credit card debt as well as her mortgage loan.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Boente commended special agents of the FBI Washington Field Office and IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye of the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Chief Todd A. Ellinwood of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

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Updated August 14, 2015