Straw buyer in mortgage fraud scheme sentenced to 30 months

A Norwich man who received tens of thousands of dollars for serving as a straw buyer in a mortgage fraud sceme that cost lenders more than $725,000 was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Hartford to 30 months of prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Judge Alvin W. Thompson also ordered Marc Jean, a citizen of Haiti who was residing in Norwich, to pay restitution in the amount of $688,852.74. On July 9, 2013, Jean pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Jean conspired with Syed Babar of New London and others in a sceme to obtain millions of dollars in residential real estate loans through the use of sham sales contracts, false loan applications and fraudulent property appraisals.  The scheme involved nearly 30 properties in Connecticut, most of which ended up in foreclosure, and resulted in a loss of more than $4 million to various private lenders and to the Federal Housing Administration, which insured many of the loans that were fraudulently obtained.

Jean was paid tens of thousands of dollars for acting as a straw buyer of four properties in New London, New Britain and Meriden.  According to the government, he accepted deposits into his bank account in order to show that he made more money than he actually did and that he had cash available for the real estate transactions.  He provided fictitious documentation and made false statements to lenders, including that he intended to occupy the properties as his primary residence, that he earned income from a rental property, that he had provided cash for the transaction, and that he is a U.S. citizen.

Fifteen individuals have been convicted in connection with this scheme.  Babar was sentenced in November 2011 to 120 months of imprisonment.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric Glover, Susan Wines and Liam Brennan.


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