Used Another Individual’s Identity, False Income and Credit Information
to Induce a Lender to Provide a Home Mortgage Loan
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel sentenced Abdallah Suleiman Kitwara, age 44, of Bowie, Maryland today to 15 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to commit wire fraud arising from a residential mortgage fraud scheme. Judge Hazel also ordered Kitwara to pay restitution of $290,954 and a fine of $50,000.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Cary A. Rubenstein of the Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General - Office of Investigations; Inspector General Laura S. Wertheimer of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General; Special Agent in Charge Kathy Michalko of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office; John L. Phillips, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, U.S. Department of the Treasury - Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to his plea agreement, from March 2007 to November 2008, Kitwara conspired with real estate agent Tibakweitira and others to unlawfully use the identity of another individual to buy residential property. For example, in May and June 2007, Kitwara used the stolen identity of another person, along with false income statements and credit information, to buy a residence in Washington, D.C. The conspirators inflated the sales price by creating false documents for repairs and renovations that were never made. After the settlement, the conspirators divided up the cash received for the purported repairs.
As a result of the conspiracy, Kitwara caused $290,954 in losses to the bank that was the lender for purchased property.
Edgar Tibakweitira, a/k/a “Edgar Julian,” “Charles Edgar Tibakweitira,” and “Edgar Gaudious Tibakweitira,” age 46, of Severn, Maryland previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and to aggravated identity theft. Tibakweitira has agreed to forfeit a Range Rover vehicle, and awaits sentencing.
Five other conspirators from Maryland have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme, including: Tibakweitira’s wife Flavia Makundi, age 42, of Severn; Raymond Abraham, age 47, of Silver Spring,; Ayoub Luziga, age 36, of Bowie; Cane Mwihava, age 44, of Bowie; and Mokorya Cosmas Wambura, age 41, of Takoma Park. Abraham was sentenced on October 27, 2014 to 33 months in prison, and Luziga was sentenced on November 24, 2014 to 21 months in prison. Abraham and Luziga were both ordered to pay restitution of $999,726.55. Wambura was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay restitution of more than $400,000. Mwihava is scheduled to be sentenced on December 27, 2014 at 11:30 a.m.
A jury convicted Annika Boas, age 37, of Mount Rainier, Maryland on September 19, 2014, for conspiracy, wire fraud and making a false statement on a loan application, arising from the scheme. Boas is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.
The Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force was established to unify the agencies that regulate and investigate mortgage fraud and promote the early detection, identification, prevention and prosecution of mortgage fraud schemes. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the Task Force, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect consumers from fraud and promote the integrity of the credit markets. Information about mortgage fraud prosecutions is available www.justice.gov/usao/md/Mortgage Fraud/index.html.
Today's announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised HUD-OIG, FHFA-OIG, Treasury OIG, U.S. Secret Service and HSI Baltimore for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin DiGregory, Investigative Counsel for the Federal Housing Finance Agency Inspector General, who prosecuted the case.