District Man Indicted for Conspiracy and Bank Fraud Over Allegedly Filed Forged Documents
District Man Indicted for Conspiracy and Bank Fraud
Allegedly Filed Forged Documents, Leading to Nearly $340,000 in Ill-Gotten Gains
The indictment, which was unsealed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced by U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Johnson, who was arrested today, was named in a six-count indictment that was returned on Aug. 9, 2016. He is charged with federal violations of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, engaging in illegal monetary transactions, and making a false statement, as well as uttering, which is a District of Columbia offense. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking all proceeds that can be traced to the fraud scheme. Johnson pled not guilty to the charges at his first court appearance this afternoon.
According to the indictment, SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. loaned a friend of Johnson’s approximately $470,000 to purchase residential real estate in the 100 block of 57th Street SE in 2008. By 2009, the friend had failed to repay the mortgage loans, and in 2010, SunTrust Mortgage filed a notice of foreclosure with the District of Columbia’s Recorder of Deeds. In April 2013, SunTrust Mortgage began the process of foreclosing on the mortgage and taking possession of the property, due to the friend’s failure to make good and timely payments on the mortgage loans.
The indictment alleges that sometime before Oct. 2, 2013, Johnson caused the creation of two phony and forged certificates of satisfaction, which falsely represented that the SunTrust Mortgage loans at the property on 57th Street SE had been paid and that his friend owned the property “free and clear.” The indictment also alleges that on Oct. 2, 2013, Johnson filed these two phony certificates of satisfaction with the Recorder of Deeds.
In or about December 2013, after the fake certificates of satisfaction allowed the friend to sell the property without paying the outstanding mortgages, the title and escrow company wired out the sales proceeds of $337,105, of which approximately $170,688 was obtained by Johnson.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Assistant Director in Charge Abbate expressed appreciation for the work performed by those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those working on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including former Paralegal Specialist Corinne Kleinman, Paralegal Specialist Kaitlyn Kruger, Litigation Tech Specialist Ron Royal, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Swanton, who is assisting with forfeiture issues. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Cheatham who is prosecuting the case.