Former Short Sale Specialist Convicted of Mortgage and Tax Fraud
Ashburn Resident Did Not Report Over $720,000 Earned from Scheme
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Charise Stone, 46, of Ashburn, Virginia, was convicted today by a federal jury on 13 charges related to mortgage fraud, passing fictitious financial instruments, and tax fraud.
Stone 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, who owned a settlement company that closed every short sale transaction for Stone, pleaded guilty to wire-fraud conspiracy on May 27, 2014. At his and Stone’s direction, fraudulent HUD-1 settlement statements at the direction of Stone 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 over $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 will be sentenced on Aug. 14, 2015, and 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. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Caroline D. Ciraolo, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division; Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’S Washington Field Office; and Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge, Washington, D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation, 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-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye and Assistant Chief Todd Ellinwood of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-CR-127.