5 February 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Eileen J. O’Connor, Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division, United States Department of Justice; Brian J. Wimpling, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; William Sims, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service; and Broward County Sheriff Kenneth C. Jenne, announced today that on February 2, 2005, defendants, Samantha Johnson and Scott Warren Johnson, of Parkland, Florida, pleaded guilty to charges related to a wide-ranging mortgage fraud scheme.
Samantha Johnson pleaded guilty to one (1) count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering, as well as substantive mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering counts. Both defendants also pleaded guilty to filing a false 2000 individual income tax return with the IRS that failed to report the proceeds from the fraud scheme. In addition, the defendants agreed to forfeit $500,000 to the United States.
The defendants’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 13, 2005, at 1:00 p.m. before United States District Court Judge Kenneth L. Marra.
Samantha Johnson faces a statutory maximum sentence of five (5) years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $250,000 on the conspiracy count; a statutory maximum sentence of twenty (20) years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 on the wire and mail fraud counts; and a maximum statutory sentence of twenty (20) years in prison and a fine of up to at least $500,000 on the money laundering count. Samantha Johnson and Scott Warren Johnson also face a statutory maximum sentence of three (3) years’ imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine, on the false tax return charge.
According to the Indictment, Samantha Johnson and another defendant, Mary Jo Bellavia-Sabag, licensed mortgage brokers, orchestrated primarily out of Broward County a scheme whereby they fraudulently deeded residential properties in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to themselves, their aliases, and their nominee corporations. Fraudulent, and in some cases forged, quitclaim deeds were recorded in the public records in an effort to further the scheme. Samantha Johnson and Scott Warren Johnson obtained money from the scheme by selling the fraudulently obtained properties to unsuspecting third parties or obtaining loans secured by the properties which ultimately ended up in default. Samantha Johnson and others obtained in excess of $3 million in property and funds from their victims. A large portion of the illegally derived income never was reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Internal Revenue Service, United States Secret Service, and Broward County Sheriff”s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas P. Lanigan and Trial Attorney William J. Lovett, Tax Division, United States Department of Justice.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .