A federal grand jury in Maryland has indicted Joshua S. Goldberg on charges of conspiracy to commit and committing wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in which fraudulent loans were obtained on at least five properties. The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Inspector General Steve A. Linick of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General; and Postal Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division.
According to three-count indictment, from 2004 through 2008, Goldberg controlled Worthington Mortgage Group LLC, a mortgage brokerage company that operated from offices on Gough Street in Baltimore, Md. The indictment alleges that beginning in 2004, Goldberg conspired with Kenneth Koehler, a former business partner; David Christian, a licensed appraiser; and others to obtain loans for Worthington Mortgage clients, including the co-conspirators, by submitting false and misleading appraisals, false bank account information, fictitious employment information, and false monthly income figures. The indictment alleges that the scheme resulted in multiple loan defaults, foreclosures, and loan losses to mortgage companies and financial institutions of more than $2.5 million.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that Goldberg arranged with Koehler to falsely verify the employment or income information supplied on the loan application, if called upon by the lender. Goldberg also arranged for Christian to provide false and misleading appraisals by telling Christian the dollar value to place on a property and to change the appraisal if it was too low, as well as to misrepresent the condition and physical characteristics of the property.
In addition, Goldberg had Koehler, who was selling three of his properties to other co-conspirators, conceal the true purchase price of properties from the lenders by signing the HUD-1 stating that he had received a substantial down payment from the buyers, when in fact no such payments had occurred and by kicking back part of the sales proceeds from each loan to the buyers. By concealing the true sales price for the properties, the conspirators manipulated the lenders into funding more than 100 of the purchase price, which exposed the lenders to a greater risk of loss than they anticipated.
Goldberg faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million for the conspiracy and for wire fraud affecting a financial institution. Goldberg is believed to be a fugitive.
Kenneth Koehler of Baltimore and David C. Christian of Catonsville, Md. each previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and are awaiting sentencing. 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. This case, as well as other cases brought by members of the task force, demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies to protect consumers from fraud and promote the integrity of the credit markets.