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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 2, 2014

Former HUD Employee Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge In Theft Of $843,000 Of Government MoneyDefendant Sold HUD Properties, Kept A Portion Of The Proceeds For Himself

     WASHINGTON – Brian E. Thompson, 53, a former loan guarantee specialist for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, pled guilty today to a charge stemming from a scheme in which he stole $843,000 of government money.

     The plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Gary R. Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Cary A. Rubenstein, Special Agent in Charge of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD-OIG).

     Thompson, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of wire fraud. The Honorable Senior Judge Paul L. Friedman scheduled sentencing for Jan. 7, 2015. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that Thompson faces a likely range of 33 to 41 months in prison and a fine of up to $75,000. The plea agreement calls for Thompson to pay $843,000 in restitution to the federal government. He also is subject to a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $645,700.

     According to a statement of offense, signed by the defendant as well as the government, Thompson carried out his scheme from May 2013 until March 2014, while he was working for HUD’s Office of Loan Guarantee for Native American programs. This Office handles the reselling of properties that have been acquired by HUD after borrowers defaulted on their HUD-guaranteed mortgages. Thompson was a loan guarantee specialist. His duties included selling these HUD real estate owned properties for the best possible price in order to reimburse the government for the payments made to the mortgage lender for the insured loan. He advised supervisors of the progress of reselling properties, and he also coordinated with the title and escrow agents at settlements.

     From June 2013 until March 2014, Thompson sold parcels of such real estate properties on behalf of HUD. For five of those parcels, he made materially false misrepresentations to third parties and diverted $843,000 of the sales proceeds to bank accounts under his control. In order to conceal these thefts from HUD, Thompson used and submitted fictitious settlement statements that falsely listed the buyer, and/or the contract sales prices, and/or the seller proceeds.

     “Brian Thompson exploited his government job to rob the American taxpayer of more than $800,000,” said U.S. Attorney Machen.  “This crooked HUD employee diverted the proceeds of real estate sales from the U.S. Treasury to his own pockets through lies and trickery.  He now faces serious prison time as a result of criminal breach of the public trust.” 

     “Postal Inspectors are proud to join with our federal law enforcement partners at HUD-OIG to bring this case to a successful resolution,” said Inspector in Charge Barksdale. “By joining forces, we are able to bring justice to those who would misuse the U.S. mail in order to defraud the US government.”

     “The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General is tasked with investigating allegations of waste, fraud, and abuse in HUD-sponsored programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Rubenstein. “When we learn of HUD employees who engage in fraud, and in this instance elect to enrich themselves at the expense of a HUD program designed to ensure that Native Americans are provided the American dream of home ownership, we vigorously investigate these allegations in order to bring the employees to justice and remove them from current and future employment with HUD and the Federal Government. We wish to thank our law enforcement partners at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and United States Attorney’s Office for their steadfast efforts, hard work and dedication.  This was a truly collaborative effort that led to the guilty plea earlier today.” 

     In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Inspector in Charge Barksdale, and Special Agent in Charge Rubenstein commended the work of those who investigated the case from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and HUD’s Office of the Inspector General. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Kristy Penny, the Asset Forfeiture Section’s staff, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diane Lucas and Virginia Cheatham.

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Updated February 19, 2015