The guilty plea of Mokorya Cosmas Wambura, 45, follows a joint investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations; Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG); U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Inspector General Treasury; U.S. Secret Service, Washington Field Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore field office.
According to his plea agreement and court documents, from March 2007 to November 2008, Wambura conspired with real estate agent Tibakweitira and others to use the identity of another individual without lawful authority 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, Md. The conspirators inflated the value of the property 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, a conspirator sold his residence in Silver Spring, Md., to Wambura, and attempted to conceal the scheme by using the identity of Wambura's friend and roommate, without lawful authority, 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 his conspirator 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.
At his June 16 sentencing before Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow, Wambura faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on each of two wire fraud conspiracy counts, and a mandatory minimum of two years for aggravated identity theft consecutive to any other sentence.
Edgar Tibakweitira, aka Edgar Julian, Charles Edgar Tibakweitira and Edgar Gaudious Tibakweitira, 37, of Severn, Md., 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 May 6.
Wambura and Tibakweitira are both detained pending their sentencings.
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 at www.justice.gov/usao/md/Mortgage-Fraud/index.html.
The announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was created 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.
The case is being prosecuted in the District of Maryland by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O'Malley and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin DiGregory, Investigative Counsel for FHFA-OIG.