Chiedu “George” Chukwuka, 47, and wife, Sandra Petgrave, 43, have been sentenced in connection with a mortgage fraud ring that spanned 5 years. Chukwuka, and Sandra engaged in a massive property-flipping scheme resulting in over $5.8m in actual losses to banks between 2006 and 2011.
The sentencing of Chukwuka brings to a close a lengthy investigation and prosecution of a criminal enterprise that targeted the banking industry through their prolific mortgage fraud schemes. Chukwuka, considered by law enforcement and prosecution to be head of this enterprise, caused extensive damage with high loss amounts to those victim banks involved.
They recruited straw buyers to purchase homes at a discounted price, typically a bank-owned or distressed property. The group then recruited a second straw buyer to purchase the same home at a dramatically inflated price.
In turn, they applied for an acquisition loan for the second straw buyer, supporting the loan application with false income, fake employment, and fraudulent net worth data. The group profited from their scheme by pocketing the acquisition loan proceeds paid by the victim bank to the straw seller (who was the straw purchaser in the first transaction).
The amount of profit was the difference between the price paid by the straw purchaser in the first transaction and the price paid by the straw purchaser in the second transaction, less transaction costs. Since none of the straw purchasers made any significant loan payments, the targeted properties usually went into foreclosure, resulting in over $5.8m in actual losses to banks.
Chukwuka was sentenced 9 years in prison to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5.8m. Sandra Petgrave was sentenced to one year, six months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1.1m….. in Naira….. Cc: www.justice.com