Maple Plain Man Indicted For Defrauding Mortgage Loan Lenders
MINNEAPOLIS—A federal indictment unsealed late yesterday charges a 38-year-old Maple Plain man with conspiring to defraud mortgage loan lenders. The indictment, which was filed on July 16, 2013, specifically charges Alpha Rashidi Mshihiri with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of bank fraud, two counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. The indictment was unsealed following the Mshihiri’s initial appearance in federal court.
The indictment alleges that from June 2006 through January 2009, Mshihiri conspired with others to defraud and obtain money from mortgage lenders by means of false and fraudulent representations. Mshihiri operated Pristine Home Loans and allegedly recruited straw buyers to purchase residential real estate properties. The straw buyers submitted fraudulent loan applications to the mortgage lenders and, in some instances, used the stolen identity others in their applications.
In support of the false loan applications, Mshihiri purportedly created false documents, such as false W-2s and fraudulent paystubs and driver’s licenses, which the straw buyers then submitted to the mortgage lenders. In some instances, the proceeds of the loans were allegedly used to pay existing mortgages, financially benefiting Mshihiri and his un-named co-conspirators. In other situations, proceeds were purportedly paid as kickbacks to the straw buyers. Every property purchased through the scheme has gone into foreclosure, resulting in substantial losses to the victim lenders.
If convicted, Mshihiri faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years on each count. Any sentence would be determined by a federal district court judge. This case is the result of an investigation by the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the United States Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lola Velazquez-Aguilu.
The Financial Crimes Task Force was established pursuant to state law and is comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement investigators dedicated to combating the growing problem of cross-jurisdictional financial crimes. The task force, overseen by an advisory board also created under state law, serves the entire District of Minnesota, presenting its cases to county or federal prosecutors, as appropriate.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office wants to remind people to protect themselves from mortgage fraud. For more information, visit http://www.stopfraud.gov/protect-mortgage.html.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.