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Justice News

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Virginia Man Sentenced to 60 Months in Prison on Federal Fraud Conspiracy Charge for Stealing Over $1.3 Million

Fraud Scheme Defrauded Companies and Individuals From Around the World

            WASHINGTON – Issam Abu-Ghosh, 61, of Leesburg, Virginia, was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for his role in a fraud conspiracy targeting companies and individuals from across the United States and around the world.

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu; Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Division, and Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Division of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

            Issam Abu-Ghosh pled guilty in September 2018 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was sentenced by the Honorable Richard J. Leon. In addition to his prison term, Abu-Ghosh must pay restitution in the amount of $1,358,980, as well as a forfeiture money judgement in the amount of $952,000.  Following his prison term, he will be placed on three years of supervised release.

            Beginning in or about 2009, and continuing through at least 2012, Ghosh and his co-conspirator conducted a scheme to defraud individuals, companies, and other types of entities, to obtain money.  The scheme was conducted in a similar manner for many of the victims.  In nearly each instance, Ghosh represented to the victim that Ghosh, through his solely owned company, could obtain a loan for the victim through various connections that he maintained. The loans needed by the victims were often for millions of dollars and to fund large projects.  Prior to soliciting potential lenders, Ghosh required that each victim provide a good faith deposit to be held in escrow to show the victim’s good intentions toward obtaining the loan. The good faith deposits ranged from $15,000 to $250,000. Ghosh’s co-conspirator, an attorney, acted as the escrow agent for the good faith deposits.  Once an agreement was reached between the victim and Ghosh, the terms and conditions were memorialized in a Loan Commitment contract.  The Loan Commitment included an Escrow Agreement, which identified Ghosh’s co-conspirator as the escrow agent and provided conditions under which the Escrow Agreement would operate, including the transfer of the good faith deposit to a bank account held by the co-conspirator.  In most cases, the Escrow Agreement required that the co-conspirator hold the money with the understanding that the funds would be returned to the victim if Ghosh failed to identify and provide a lender.  Once the victim wired the good faith deposit to the escrow account, most of that money was transferred to Ghosh within days.  Ghosh and his co-conspirator obtained over $1,358,980 in good faith deposits.  No loans were ever obtained by Ghosh and the good faith deposits were used by Ghosh and his co-conspirator for their personal benefit or to further the scheme.

            In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Liu, Special Agent in Charge Dunham, and Special Agent in Charge Jackson commended the work performed by those who investigated the case from the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle A. Zamarin, Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Lucas, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Marando, who prosecuted the case.

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
Updated January 15, 2020