A Maryland jury has convicted Annika Boas, 37, for her role in a residential mortgage fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein announced late last week.
Boas was convicted of two counts of wire fraud and two counts of making a false statement on a mortgage application, according to Rosenstein.
Boas committed the mortgage fraud between March 2007 and November 2008, according to evidence presented at the trial. Along with real estate agent Edgar Tibakweitira and Ayoub Luziga (with whom Boas was in a relationship) and several others, Boas allegedly made false statements on residential mortgage applications to obtain the loans, then used stolen or false identity documents to lure the lenders into giving loans to straw buyers such as Boas and her conspirators. Evidence revealed that Tibakweitira, the real estate agent, created false documents for repairs and renovations in order to inflate the price of the properties. The conspirators then divided the money that supposedly went to repairs amongst themselves following settlement, according to evidence presented.
Witnesses testified at the trial that Boas and the conspirators used the identify of at least four individuals to fraudulently obtain residential mortgage loans, including a driver's license from North Carolina with the victim's name and Boas's photo. According to evidence, federally-insured financial institutions incurred between $400,000 and $1 million as a result of the scam.
Rosenstein announced the conviction along with Special Agent in Charge Cary A. Rubenstein of the Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General – Office of Investigations (HUD – OIG); Acting Inspector General Michael P. Stephens of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA – OIG); Special Agent in Charge Kathy Michalko of the U.S. Secret Service – Washington Field Office; John L. Phillips, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, U.S. Department of the Treasury – Office of Inspector General; and Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
"The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General investigates allegations of waste, fraud and abuse in HUD sponsored programs such as our FHA program," said Rubenstein, who is the Special Agent in Charge of HUD-OIG’s Mid-Atlantic Region. "This group, including several mortgage industry professionals, perpetrated a sophisticated mortgage fraud scheme designed to enrich themselves at the expense of lenders and the FHA Insurance Fund. The efforts that brought us this verdict demonstrate that when law enforcement is made aware of schemes that place the public and the FHA Insurance program at risk, we will commit the necessary resources to make sure the fraudsters are brought to justice and are no longer in a position to engage in fraud."
Boas is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7, 2015, and faces up to 30 years in prison. Tibakweitira, 46, and Ayoub Luziga, 35, have pleaded guilty to charges relating to the scam and are scheduled to be sentenced in November. Five others have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the scam; one was sentenced to five years in prison and one was sentenced to time served. The other three are awaiting sentencing.