A federal jury has convicted Robert Dewain Venson of Fort Washington, Md., for mail and wire fraud, money laundering and failing to file tax returns in connection with a three-year mortgage fraud scheme involving 13 residential properties. The conviction was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Assistant Director in Charge Shawn Henry of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Washington Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Rebecca Sparkman of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office; and Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division.
According to evidence presented at the two-week long trial, from 2004-2007, Venson negotiated the purchase of 13 residential properties in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including houses in Hyattsville, Ocean City, Fort Washington and Salisbury, Md. Rather than purchase the properties in his own name, the evidence proved that Venson paid straw buyers to appear at the settlement posing as the buyer. Witnesses testified that Venson typically would represent to the straw buyer that he would pay the loan obligation. Venson inflated the price listed on the sales documents to an amount substantially larger than the actual price, causing the mortgage lender to provide funds for the purchase substantially in excess of the actual price. Venson misrepresented and concealed the true purchase price, his arrangement with the straw buyer and other material information from the mortgage lender. Under this scheme, the trial evidence showed that Venson reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Evidence showed that Venson failed to file individual federal income tax returns for 2004, 2005 and 2006, during the period of the scheme. Based on the mortgage fraud scheme, the indictment seeks forfeiture of property, including a money judgment of $892,371.
“The IRS-Criminal Investigation, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, vigorously pursues individuals who commit crimes against our community and economy,” said Sparkman of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Washington D.C. Field Office. “Convictions, like the one just returned against Robert Venson, send a loud and clear message that people who willfully defy the laws, including tax laws, will be fully investigated and prosecuted for their actions.”
Venson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of the eight counts of mail fraud, each of the eight counts of wire fraud, and each of the seven counts of money laundering; and one year in prison for each of the three counts of failure to file tax returns.
The Maryland Mortgage Fraud Task Force was established to unify the agencies that regulate and investigate mortgage fraud and promote the early detection, identification, prevention, and prosecution of mortgage fraud schemes.
For more information, visit www.justice.gov.