New London Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Operating Extensive Mortgage Fraud Scheme

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that SYED A. BABAR, also known as “Ali” and “Asad,” 29, of New London, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 120 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for orchestrating a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.

“Mr. Babar earned this significant sentence by orchestrating a wide-ranging mortgage fraud scheme that led to millions of dollars in losses and left tens of abandoned houses in its wake,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, HUD-OIG and the other participants in the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force are committed to investigating and prosecuting those who are responsible criminally for creating blight in our communities and contributing to our nation’s banking crisis.”

According to court documents and statements made in court, between February 2007 and April 2010, BABAR and others engaged in a scheme to obtain millions of dollars in residential real estate loans, including loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, through the use of sham sales contracts, false loan applications and fraudulent property appraisals. BABAR was the de facto leader and organizer of the conspiracy.

BABAR and others recruited and paid straw purchasers to nominally purchase homes. He and his co-conspirators then directed the straw purchasers to enter into sales contracts with the sellers of homes for prices higher than the actual prices that the sellers would receive. Members of the conspiracy submitted false documentation in connection with loan applications, including fraudulent appraisals of the properties being purchased in order to justify the inflated sales prices and the loan amounts being sought to fund the purchases. BABAR and his co-conspirators also created a fictitious construction company in order to divert fraud proceeds to it and, in some cases, to falsely justify the artificially inflated sales price of houses based on renovations to the property that never occurred. BABAR and his co-conspirators then split the fraud proceeds.

Contrary to the representations made on the loan applications, the straw purchasers never occupied the houses as their primary residences. They defaulted on the loans they obtained and let the houses go into foreclosure.

BABAR and his co-conspirators conducted this scheme on approximately 30 properties in Connecticut. As a result, various lenders suffered total losses of approximately $4.75 million.

Today, Chief Judge Thompson ordered BABAR to pay restitution in the amount of $4,749,024.76.

On February 1, 2011, BABAR pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and four counts of making false statements to the government.

BABAR has been detained since his arrest on May 12, 2010.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—Office of Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Eric J. Glover, Susan Wines and Liam Brennan.

Citizens are encouraged to report any suspected mortgage fraud activity by calling 203-333-3512 and requesting the Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force, or by sending an e-mail to ctmortgagefraud@ic.fbi.gov.

The Connecticut Mortgage Fraud Task Force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General, and State of Connecticut Department of Banking.

This case was brought in coordination with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to wage an aggressive and coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.

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