In July of 2013, seven individuals were indicted for the roles they played in a Detroit mortgage fraud operation. Those who were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District Court of Michigan included Peter Allen, Suhail Hallak, Al Karana, Wasseem Shamoun, Joey Murad, Jeffrey Najor, and Jason Najor. The defendants were alleged to have used fraudulent information for the purpose of obtaining mortgage loans from banks and lending institutions beginning in January of 2006, and continuing until December of 2008.
It was announced by the Department of Justice on August 12, 2014 that Wasseem Shamoun has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Shamoun pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. According to the July 2013 indictment, the scheme resulted in area banks and financial institutions paying out fraudulent mortgage loan funds that totaled approximately $10 million.
Five of the seven defendants were charged with 20 counts of bank fraud each, including Shamoun. Several agencies assisted in the investigation including the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), the IRS – Criminal Investigation, and the FBI. According to the release issued by the Department of Justice, Shamoun was personally responsible for a loss of approximately $394,000 to local financial institutions.
Shamoun and his co-defendants are said to have devised a scheme in which property was purchased in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $40,000 per home. The defendants then recruited straw buyers who would be paid a fee to submit fraudulent home mortgage loan applications. The prices paid to the defendants by straw buyers for single family homes ranged from $90,000 to $120,000 per home, with the defendants paying themselves $10,000 to $50,000 commissions.
Shamoun is scheduled to be sentenced on December 2, and faces a $1 million fine and statutory maximum prison term of 30 years for his role in the conspiracy.
Federal crimes such as conspiracy to defraud financial institutions in schemes such as the one described above are extremely serious. Individuals who are accused of mortgage fraud conspiracy or other federal crimes must consult with an experienced and aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorney in order to obtain the best possible results.