Los Angeles, California - The former managing director of residential lending and two former loan officers of a financial institution headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, pleaded guilty to participating in a years-long scheme to originate fraudulent residential-mortgage loans through the bank’s low-documentation Advantage Loan Program.
According to court documents and statements made in court, YiHou Han, 39, of San Francisco, California, Hao Liang “Frank” Hu, 48, of Chino Hills, California, and Amy Lu, 33, of Brea, California, each caused the submission of fraudulent loan applications to the financial institution, referred to as Financial Institution A, under the Advantage Loan Program, which resulted in the origination of loans. Han served as a senior loan officer, and eventually as the managing director of residential lending, at Financial Institution A, while Hu and Lu served as residential-loan officers. At various times during the conspiracy that ran from 2011 until 2019, Han, Hu, and Lu falsified and caused to be falsified borrowers’ income and debt-to-income ratios, job titles, employment histories, and supporting documents, among other things. As part of the scheme, they instructed borrowers to fabricate deposit histories and to transfer funds to third parties, who would then transfer the funds back to the borrowers as “gifts” in order to conceal the true source of the funds and to promote the underlying fraud scheme. Han, Hu, and Lu also knowingly facilitated the approval of loans to borrowers involved in money laundering and tax evasion.
As part of her guilty plea, Han admitted that she and her co-conspirators undermined Financial Institution A’s ability to implement effective anti-money laundering controls to monitor, investigate, and report potentially suspicious activity involving Advantage Loan Program borrowers. Han further admitted that her falsification of documents and material information about borrowers’ qualifications for the Advantage Loan Program was done with the knowledge and encouragement of members of Financial Institution A’s senior management in order to increase the volume of loans originated under the Advantage Loan Program, which in turn increased the bank’s revenue and the co-conspirators’ personal commissions.
During the conspiracy, Han originated at least 1,288 Advantage Loans, Hu originated at least 825 Advantage Loans, and Lu originated at least 358 Advantage Loans, representing a total of at least 2,471 loans and more than $876 million in credit extend by Financial Institution A. Han, Hu, and Lu admitted that the overwhelming majority of these loans were based on one or more fraudulent actions and that primarily as a result of the origination of these fraudulent loans Han earned approximately $3,381,355.26 in commissions, Hu earned approximately $2,519,488.98 in commissions, and Lu earned approximately $990,847.58 in commissions.
Han pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, while Lu previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, and Hu previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. Han is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 18, 2021, while Lu and Hu are scheduled to be sentenced on June 28, 2021, and June 27, 2022, respectively. Lu faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and Hu and Han each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Assistant Director in Charge Kristi K. Johnson of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office; Inspector in Charge Delany De Léon-Colón of the Criminal Investigation Group of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); Acting Special Agent in Charge Francis Mace of the Office of Inspector General for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG), San Francisco Region; and Special Agent in Charge Scott K. Redington of the Office of Inspector General – Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), San Francisco Western Division, made the announcement.
The FBI, USPIS, FDIC-OIG, and OIG-Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and CFPB investigated the case.
Trial Attorneys Kevin Lowell and Jason Covert of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.