The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) announced Tuesday that Robert Ilunga, of Naugatuck, Connecticut, was sentenced last Friday to 18 months in federal prison for operating a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme. Ilunga will serve three years of supervised release upon his release from prison.
In January 2012, Ilunga pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
"While the nation was mired in a housing crisis, Ilunga and his co-conspirators ripped-off TARP banks for millions of dollars and helped wreck the housing market in communities across Bridgeport," said Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP.
More than 40 multifamily homes and parcels of land in and around Bridgeport were purchased under false pretensions by Waikele Properties Corp., a real estate company headed by Ilunga.
In order to obtain mortgages, Ilunga and his co-conspirators falsified an array of documents, including fake employment records, tax documentations, and fraudulent loan applications.
The scheme extended to the applicants themselves, falsifying letters from fictitious employers, false earnings statements, and falsifying the creditworthiness of the purchasers to TARP banks and other mortgage lenders. Many participants served as straw buyers in the mortgage scheme, providing fraudulent information regarding buyers' income, assets and liabilities, previous property ownership, and intention to make the properties their primary residences.
Romero continued: "The properties that later fell into foreclosure were bad loans that cost the banks millions of dollars in losses. SIGTARP and our law enforcement partners stand united in bringing to justice those responsible for threatening taxpayers' TARP investments."
The parties have agreed that victim financial institutions, which include TARP banks, suffered estimated losses of between $2.5 and $7 million.