BIRMINGHAM—A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Birmingham man to five years in prison for a mortgage fraud scheme in which he sold three houses that he did not own, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley and the inspectors general of the departments of Housing and Urban Development and the Social Security Administration.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn sentenced DARRYL COBB, 54, on two counts of mail fraud in connection to the scheme. Cobb pleaded guilty to the charges in August. The judge also ordered Cobb to pay restitution of $262,861 and to forfeit $262,861 to the government as proceeds of his illegal activity.
“Mortgage fraud is a considerable problem that plagues our communities and damages our country,” Vance said. “We will continue to work tirelessly to uncover, investigate and prosecute any individual committing mortgage fraud. We want to send the clear message that if you lie on mortgage documents, you will be held accountable for your fraud.”
According to Cobb’s plea agreement with the government, his scheme was uncovered after the owner of a home in the 7900 block of 4th Avenue South complained to Birmingham police that someone was living in the house, which should have been vacant. The owner had gotten the house in a will from a deceased parent.
The person living in the house said they had bought it from Cobb. Further investigation showed Cobb had filed false documents in Jefferson County court and with a mortgage company claiming to be the rightful owner of the property, according to the plea agreement. Records searches determined Cobb had conducted two other fraudulent transactions using identical methods to obtain control over two other properties, which he then sold under the false pretense that he was the rightful owner and seller.
Those Birmingham houses are located in the 2700 block of Wood Drive and the 7500 block of 4th Avenue South.
The FBI and inspector general’s offices for both HUD and the Social Security Administration investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney prosecuted the case.