Four defendants — an attorney, a loan originator, a mortgage broker and a loan processor — were indicted for allegedly participating in a scheme to fraudulently obtain at least 35 mortgage loans totaling more than $16.2 million from various lenders, federal law enforcement officials announced. The indictment alleges that the mortgages were obtained to finance the purchase of properties throughout Chicago and in suburban Country Club Hills by buyers who were fraudulently qualified for loans while the defendants allegedly profited from fees they were paid and undisclosed payments they obtained.
All four defendants were charged with various counts of mail fraud and bank fraud in a nine-count indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of $16,218,050. The charges were announced by Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert Grant, special agent-in-charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Thomas Brady, inspector-in-charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.
Hakeem Rashid, 39, of Miami and formerly of the Chicago area, a licensed loan originator who was employed by two mortgage brokerage companies, including 1st Regent Mortgage Funding, Inc., was charged with four counts of mail fraud and five counts of bank fraud. Kareem Broughton, 39, of Chicago, a mortgage broker and the owner of 1st Regent, was charged with two counts of mail fraud and three counts of bank fraud. Marguerite Elise Dixon-Roper, also known as “Elise Dixon,” 46, of Darien, Ill., an attorney, was charged with one count of mail fraud and two counts of bank fraud, and Jada Elaine Lucas, aka “Sophia Youssef,” 52, of Chicago, a loan processor at 1st Regent and another brokerage, was charged with three counts of mail fraud and one count of bank fraud.
Between 2005 and May 2008, all four defendants and others allegedly schemed to obtain the fraudulent mortgages by making false representations in loan applications, supporting documents, and HUD-1 settlement statements concerning the buyers’ income, employment, financial condition, source of down payments and intention to occupy the property.
As part of the scheme, Rashid, Broughton and Dixon-Roper allegedly recruited buyers to purchase properties and facilitated the buyers’ purchase of properties, knowing that they would be fraudulently qualified for mortgage loans. Rashid and Broughton allegedly paid buyers for purchasing properties, while concealing the payments from lenders. In addition, the defendants also allegedly either purchased properties, which were mostly scattered throughout the city, and/or refinanced existing mortgages in their own names, knowing that they were fraudulently qualified for the loans.
According to the indictment, Broughton received payment through 1st Regent in the form of brokerage fees on loans for buyers whom he knew were qualified based on false information submitted to lenders; Rashid received payment through 1st Regent and another company for originating mortgage loans for buyers whom he knew were not qualified; Dixon-Roper received payment for representing buyers and sellers at real estate closings, knowing that the buyers were not legitimately qualified borrowers; and Youssef received payment for processing loans through 1st Regent, knowing that she submitted false information to qualify buyers for the loans.
In addition, Rashid, Broughton and Dixon-Roper allegedly obtained undisclosed payments through entities they controlled, including The Broughton Group, R&B Management, Hamaya Banco, and Dixon-Roper’s law firm. Rashid and Dixon also allegedly submitted false statements to lenders indicating that escrow money was being held by Dixon-Roper or her law firm. Instead, knowing that no escrow money was being held, Dixon directed the payment of money purportedly held in escrow to herself and Rashid, while concealing the true nature of the payments from lenders, the charges allege.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Zimdahl and Erika Csicsila.