23 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by jwgartin
Patch Instagram photo by jwgartin

Former Ashburn Jeweler Gets 4+ Years in $20 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

The case involved dozens of homes in the region and cost lenders millions.

Former Ashburn Jeweler Gets 4+ Years in $20 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme

A former Ashburn man who pleaded guilty to involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme has been sentenced to more than four years in prison and ordered to pay about $6 million is restitution.

In all, a federal judge sentenced jeweler Robert Mikail, 41, to 52 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. And in addition to the restitution, U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris ordered Mikail to forfeit nearly $1 million in proceeds from the scheme to the federal government.

Mikail and others – including loan officers Bing-Sing “Cindy” Wang and Ging-Hwang “Felicia” Tsoa – conspired to defraud mortgage lenders, according to court documents.  The conspirators profited by purchasing real estate in Northern Virginia with mortgages obtained by fraud, according to court records. 

Mikail owned Opus Jewelers in Ashburn and used that business in the scheme, which involved about three dozen homes, according to court documents.

According to the charges to which Mikail pleaded guilty, he recruited five individuals known as “straw buyers,” who served as purchasers of the property; then worked with loan officers to falsify critical information on the straw buyers’ applications; and in most cases listed his Opus Jewelry as the applicants’ place of employment, which Mikail would falsely verify.

The scheme involved about 36 homes, according to details provided by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Eastern District of Virginia office, which were obtained from 2005 through 2007 with about $20 million in fraudulent loans. Mikail profited by about $882,387 and the lenders lost about $6 million, according to court documents.

Co-conspirator Tsoa – formerly a loan officer at First Empire Mortgage in Fairfax, Va., and Lifetime Financial Services in Herndon – was convicted of conspiracy and bank fraud charges in November, following a jury trial; she will be sentenced in February. 

Co-conspirator Wang ­– the owner of Lifetime Financial Services – pleaded guilty to related charges in November 2012 and was sentenced in February 2013 to 24 months in prison. 

Find additional information about the case on the DOJ’s website at  http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on  https://pcl.uscourts.gov.

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