In a recent case of wire fraud, real estate investor Franklin Olaitan has pleaded guilty to orchestrating a scheme that resulted in the theft of a property located in Northwest Washington D.C. Olaitan admitted to filing a false deed, transferring the property to his own company, and subsequently reselling it to a third-party. As a result of his fraudulent actions, Olaitan caused over half a million dollars in losses to the victims involved. The guilty plea was made before U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols, and the sentencing hearing is set to take place in early 2024 before U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman. This case highlights the importance of vigilance and due diligence in the real estate industry to prevent such fraudulent activities from occurring.
Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
Defendant Fraudulently Transferred Title of a District Residence
In a shocking case of fraud, real estate investor Franklin Olaitan has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court. Olaitan admitted to fraudulently transferring the title of a residence located in Northwest Washington, D.C. in a scheme that resulted in significant financial losses for multiple victims.
Guilty Plea Entered in Federal Court
The guilty plea was entered before U.S. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols. Olaitan admitted to causing the filing of a false deed transferring the property to his company, which he then quickly resold to a third-party. This allowed him to pocket the sale proceeds while leaving the true owner unaware of the fraudulent transaction.
Losses Caused by the Defendant’s Fraudulent Scheme
As a result of Olaitan’s fraudulent scheme, the various victims suffered over half a million dollars in losses. The true owner of the property, who had purchased it in 1996, only discovered that the property had been stolen from them when the third-party buyer listed it for sale after renovating it.
Details of the Fraudulent Scheme
Forgery of Signatures on Documents
Between September 2016 and March 2017, while the property in question was vacant, Olaitan forged the signatures of the true owner and a notary on several documents. These documents included a false sales contract and a false deed, which he then used to sell the property to his own company without the knowledge or consent of the true owner.
Sale of Property to Defendant’s Company
Having fraudulently obtained the property through forged signatures, Olaitan sold it to his own company. This allowed him to take possession of the property and begin the process of reselling it for personal gain.
False and Fraudulent Documents Presented to Lender and Settlement Company
To carry out his scheme, Olaitan prepared and presented false and fraudulent documents to a lender and a Maryland settlement company. These documents misrepresented the true ownership of the property and facilitated the sale to the defendant’s company.
Filing of False Documents with D.C. Recorder of Deeds
In order to further legitimize the fraudulent transaction, Olaitan caused the settlement company to file the false documents with the D.C. Recorder of Deeds. This gave the appearance that the sale of the property had been conducted legitimately, hiding the true nature of the scheme.
Deposit of Seller’s Proceeds Check into Defendant’s Bank Account
As part of the fraudulent transaction, Olaitan caused the settlement company to provide him with a check representing the proceeds from the purported sale of the property. He then deposited this check into one of his company’s bank accounts, effectively stealing the funds for personal gain.
Resale of Property to Third-Party Buyer
Immediately after acquiring the property through fraudulent means, Olaitan quickly sold it to a third-party buyer. This buyer intended to renovate the property, but later discovered that the property had been stolen from its true owner. They had already invested at least $600,000 into the renovation, only to find themselves unwittingly involved in a fraud scheme.
Consequences and Legal Proceedings
Sentencing Hearing to Be Scheduled in Early 2024
Following the guilty plea, a sentencing hearing for Franklin Olaitan will be scheduled in early 2024. The court will determine the appropriate punishment for his role in the wire fraud scheme, taking into account the financial losses suffered by the victims.
Recognition of Losses Incurred by the Victims
The fraudulent actions of Franklin Olaitan caused substantial financial harm to multiple victims. The court will consider the extent of these losses in determining an appropriate sentence, ensuring that the victims are recognized and compensated to the fullest extent possible.
Commendation for Investigative and Prosecution Efforts
The successful prosecution of Franklin Olaitan’s wire fraud case was the result of diligent investigative work and dedicated prosecution efforts. The U.S. Attorney’s Office commends the FBI’s Washington Field Office for their thorough investigation and the attorneys and staff who worked tirelessly to bring the case to a resolution. In particular, Paralegal Specialists Lisa Abbe and Liliana Villamizar, Victim-Witness Service Coordinator Tonya Jones, and the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who investigated and prosecuted the case, Diane Lucas and Christopher Howland, deserve recognition for their commitment to justice.
In conclusion, the guilty plea entered by real estate investor Franklin Olaitan in the wire fraud case involving the fraudulent transfer of a district residence highlights the need for vigilance and diligence in the real estate industry. With significant financial losses incurred by the victims, it is crucial that measures are taken to prevent and detect such fraudulent schemes in order to protect the integrity of real estate transactions and ensure the trust and confidence of property owners. The legal proceedings that will follow the guilty plea in this case will bring justice and accountability for the crimes committed, providing restitution to the victims and serving as a deterrent to potential future fraudsters.