Used Other Individuals’ Identities, False Income and Credit Information
to Induce Lenders to Provide Home Mortgage Loans
Greenbelt, Maryland – Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Mokorya Cosmas Wambura, age 41, of Takoma Park, Maryland today to five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft arising from two separate residential mortgage fraud schemes. Chief Judge Chasanow also ordered Wambura to pay restitution of more than $400,000.
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; Acting Inspector General Michael P. Stephens 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).
"This investigation demonstrated that through the cooperative investigative efforts with our law enforcement partners, those who commit fraud affecting financial institutions of the United States will be brought to justice," said John L. Phillips, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, U.S. Department of the Treasury - Office of Inspector General.
According to his plea agreement and court documents, from March 2007 to November 2008, Wambura conspired with real estate agent Tibakweitira and others to unlawfully use the identity of another individual to buy residential property. For example, in June 2008, Wambura used the stolen identity of another person, along with false income statements and credit information, to buy a residence in Hyattsville, Maryland. 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.
During the second fraud scheme from July 2007 to May 2009, co-conspirator Mrisho Mzese sold his residence in Silver Spring, Maryland to Wambura, and attempted to conceal the scheme by using the identity of Wambura’s friend and roommate as the purported buyer. Wambura again made false statements about the buyer’s assets and income. For example, Wambura listed a joint credit union account held by Wambura and his friend as an asset, which Wambura created without his friend’s knowledge. After securing the mortgage and obtaining possession of the residence, Wambura continued to use his friend’s stolen identity to become a Section 8 landlord for federally subsidized funds. Wambura received portions of the monthly rent paid by the tenant. Wambura and Mzese also caused $29,186 in government housing program assistance checks, payable to Wambura’s friend, to be mailed to Wambura.
As a result of the two conspiracies, Wambura caused between $400,000 and $1 million in losses to federally-insured financial institutions.
Edgar Tibakweitira, a/k/a “Edgar Julian,” “Charles Edgar Tibakweitira,” and “Edgar Gaudious Tibakweitira,” age 37, of Severn, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and to aggravated identity theft, and has agreed to forfeit a Range Rover vehicle. Tibakweitira is scheduled to be sentenced on November 3, 2014 at 10:00 am.
Mrisho Mavuruma Mzese, age 39, of Clarksburg, Maryland, was convicted at trial on May 1, 2014 on 11 counts including conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, based on his participation in the second fraud scheme in which he engaged with Wambura. Mzese's sentencing is scheduled for August 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm.
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 http://www.justice.gov/usao/md/priorities_financialfraud.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.