Mother and Daughter Sentenced for Acting as Straw Buyers
Patricia Smith, 57, and Jamilah Smith, 31, Irvington, N.J., A mother and daughter from New Jersey each were sentenced to 24 months in prison for participating in a scheme involving New Jersey properties that caused mortgage lenders to release more than $1.9 million in loans obtained by fraud.
As previously reported by Mortgage Fraud Blog, Patricia and Jamilah previously pleaded guilty in October 2011 to two counts of wire fraud contained in the superseding Indictment against them. They entered their guilty pleas on the fifth day of trial before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle, who also imposed the sentences in Camden federal court. Co-conspirator Carol Ashley, 58, Las Vegas, also pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud that day, and was sentenced to six months of house arrest with electronic monitoring.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Patricia and Jamilah Smith served as "straw buyers" to purchase two condominiums each in North Wildwood, N.J. The straw buyers had good credit scores, but lacked the financial resources to qualify for mortgage loans. The Smiths' accomplices created false documents – such as fake bank statements, W-2 Forms, and pay stubs – to make the straw buyers appear more creditworthy than they actually were. Ashley falsely verified to the lenders that Patricia Smith worked for Ashley's company, Exclusive Entertainment Production, based in the Los Angeles area.
Once the loans were approved, the mortgage lenders sent the loan proceeds in connection with the real estate closings. The defendants' accomplices used a portion of the proceeds to pay the Smiths for their roles.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Simandle sentenced Patricia and Jamilah Smith each to serve five years of supervised release. Ashley was ordered to serve three years of supervised release. Judge Simandle ordered to Patricia Smith to forfeit $82,746.80 and pay $892,168.01 in restitution, and ordered Jamilah Smith to forfeit $65,047.70 and pay $647,290.13 in restitution. He also ordered Ashley to pay $892,168.01 in restitution.
A fourth defendant named in the superseding Indictment, Ollie Rudolph Thaxton, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in September 2011 and is scheduled to be sentenced June 1, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced the sentences.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the FBI's Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, and IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn S. Zuniga, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Stephen Stigall of the U.S. Attorney's Office Criminal Division in Camden, and John E. Clabby of the U.S. Attorney's Office Criminal Division in Trenton.
source: Mortgage Fraud Blog