GREENBELT, Md. — A 41-year-old Takoma Park man was sentenced 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.
Mokorya Cosmas Wambura was sentenced June 16 by Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow who also ordered Wambura to pay restitution of more than $400,000.
The sentence follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), the Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD), the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Secret Service's Baltimore Field Office.
According to his plea agreement and court documents, from March 2007 to November 2008, Wambura conspired with real estate agent Edgar 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. The conspirators inflated the sales prices 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 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 (aka Edgar Julian, Charles Edgar Tibakweitira and Edgar Gaudious Tibakweitira), 37, of Severn, 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 Nov. 3.
Mrisho Mavuruma Mzese, 39, of Clarksburg, was convicted at trial May 1 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 Aug. 7.
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 can be viewed here.
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. attorney 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 was 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 the Federal Housing Finance Agency Inspector General.