Gohar J. Mirza, age 29, of Annandale, Virginia, was sentenced today to 63 months in prison, followed by a term of three years supervised release, and ordered to pay more than $3,000,000 in restitution. Mirza pled guilty on September 23, 2008 to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme. Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Gregory Campbell, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Washington Division; and Joseph Persichini, Jr. Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the sentencing by United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
According to court documents, Mirza was an owner and operator of E-Star Lending, Inc., a mortgage brokerage company located in Burke and Annandale, Virginia. From approximately April 2005 through July 2008, Mirza and his co-conspirators profited by selling residential real estate in the Northern Virginia area to individuals referred to as “straw buyers.” Mirza and his co-conspirators, through E-Star, helped the straw buyers obtain 100% mortgage financing to purchase the properties by producing fraudulent loan applications which included materially false statements about the buyers’ employment, income, and other factors that lenders look at in deciding whether or not to make a loan. The straw buyers frequently defaulted on these mortgages, causing millions of dollars in losses to banks and commercial lenders.
Separately, on October 15, 2008, Walter F. Contreras, a loan officer for E-Star Lending, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge T.S. Ellis, III, to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. According to court documents, Contreras recruited straw buyers to the scheme and caused fraudulent mortgage applications to be prepared in their names. Contreras’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 23, 2009.
These cases are being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Edmund P. Power is prosecuting the cases on behalf of the United States.