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Centreville Man Indicted: Mortgage-Fraud Scheme

— A Centreville man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged part in a $1.5 million mortgage-fraud scheme. He is Jea Min Lee, 34.

In the four-count indictment returned last Thursday, May 17, Lee is charged with engaging in a conspiracy to defraud financial institutions into making fraudulent mortgage loans.

Authorities say the conspiracy reportedly involved a mortgage broker, an unqualified straw buyer, an executive from a title company, and multiple intermediaries who prepared and approved fraudulent loan documents.

According to federal-court documents, the total amount of mortgage loans approved through the alleged conspiracy exceeded $1.5 million. As a result, financial institutions suffered losses of more than $700,000.

The indictment alleges that Lee and five co-conspirators “prepared and submitted false, fraudulent and misleading mortgage-loan applications for an unqualified buyer who would not have otherwise been approved for the loan. The fraudulent applications contained false information regarding the applicant’s employment, income, assets, immigration status and intent to live in the property as a primary residence.”

According to court documents, “One month after conspirators fraudulently obtained $1.2 million in mortgage loan proceeds, they [reportedly] applied for and fraudulently received a $350,000 home equity loan, the proceeds of which were distributed among some of the conspirators.”

The indictment states that Lee and his conspirators allegedly “created fake documents to corroborate false information contained in fraudulent loan applications — including a fake lease, fabricated bank statement and a bogus W-2. One conspirator also falsely verified another conspirator’s employment in order to qualify for the loan.”

The mortgage-fraud scheme involved a home in Gainesville and, last week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, all five of the conspirators pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They are Peter Kim, 39, of Fairfax; Bok Hee Lee, 37, of South Riding; Jai Sek Lee, 50, of Ashburn; Jai Song, 41, of McLean; and Erin Cullen, 32, of Fairfax.

They each now face a possible maximum penalty of five years in prison when they’re sentenced in August and September by U.S. District Court Judge Anthony J. Trenga.

However, although Jea Min Lee was indicted, he has not yet been arrested or appeared in court. That’s because he is still at large and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye is prosecuting the case.