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Connecticut Man Sentenced in Mortgage Fraud

FEB 5, 2014 5:57pm ET
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A Connecticut man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme that cost financial institutions millions of dollars.

Robert Ilunga, along with co-defendants Winston Shillingford and Marleen Shillingford, obtained fraudulent mortgages for more than 40 properties in Bridgeport, Conn., according to a press release Tuesday from the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The IG is involved in the case because Tarp banks were among the victims of the scheme, which cost financial institutions between $2.5 million and $7 million. The institutions were not named.

Ilunga and his co-conspirators ran the fraud scheme from Waikele Properties, a real estate company with offices in Connecticut and New York. Between 2001 and 2011, the defendants recruited buyers to purchase vacant land, new houses and multifamily homes. Many of the buyers had no intention of living in the properties they purchased, according to the release.

Ilunga and his co-defendants then applied for loans on behalf of the buyers, submitting false information about their incomes, employment histories and bank records. After banks approved the loans, Ilunga and other members of the scheme pocketed the money for themselves. Some of the properties later went into foreclosure.

"While the nation was mired in a housing crisis, Ilunga and his co-conspirators ripped off Tarp banks for millions of dollars and helped wreck the housing market in communities across Bridgeport," the IG, Christy Romero, said in the release.

Ilunga was sentenced for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in a federal district court in Hartford, Conn. He pleaded guilty to both charges. The Shillingfords each pleaded guilty to the same charges. Last month Winston Shillingford was sentenced to four years, and Marleen Shillingford was sentenced to three years.

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