BALTIMORE, MD—A Baltimore County business owner has been sentenced to federal prison for fraudulently obtaining federally insured loans to sell two Baltimore properties he owned.
U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Philip Abramowitz, 50, of Pikesville, to one year in federal prison and one year of home detention, followed by three years of supervised release, for a wire fraud conspiracy for fraudulently obtaining federally insured home loans. Judge Bennett also ordered Abramowitz to pay $373,684 in restitution and forfeit $493,037.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jerome A. Winkle of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General.
“Abramowitz blatantly lied to federal entities and abused a federal loan program intended to ease the financial stress of purchasing a home. Our office will continue to prosecute those who abuse federal programs.” said Barron.
“Abramowitz’s conduct is unacceptable and undermines the goals of FHA loan program,” said Winkle. “HUD OIG is committed to working with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to hold individuals like Mr. Abramowitz accountable and recover funds fraudulently obtained from HUD programs.”
According to his guilty plea, from May 2016 to April 2017, Abramowitz and others conspired to defraud two financial institutions by fraudulently obtaining Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans and property under false pretenses. The FHA is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders. To qualify for the FHA-insured loans, the buyer must use the residence as their primary residence, disclose any familial or business relationship between the seller and buyer, and disclose the source of the money the buyer intends to use for the down payment and closing costs.
Philip Abramowitz admitted that he used his company, 163 N. Potomac St., LLC, to facilitate the sales of his Potomac Street properties using FHA-insured loans. For example, in May 2016, Abramowitz sold one of his Potomac Street properties (Property 1) to his brother, Calvin Abramowitz, and entered into an agreement with Calvin Abramowitz to purchase the property using an FHA-insured loan.
According to court documents, Calvin Abramowitz applied for and received a $294,566 FHA-insured loan with a mortgage company (Mortgage Company 1) by falsely representing Philip Abramowitz’s bank account records as his own. Calvin and Philip Abramowitz also: concealed their family relationship from Mortgage Company 1 by submitting false company filings during the loan application process; had Philip Abramowitz’s property manager (Property Manager 1) pose as the sole seller and manager of 163 N. Potomac St., LLC; and arranged for Property Manager 1 to sign the FHA-loan contact as the official seller of the property. Philip Abramowitz’s ownership of 163 N, Potomac St., LLC or involvement in the sale was never disclosed.
To meet the requirements of the loan procurement process, Philip Abramowitz gave Calvin Abramowitz $10,500 to pay for the closing costs for Property 1, as Calvin did not have the financial means to make the purchase. Based on the fraudulent financial information presented during the loan application process, Mortgage Company 1 loaned Calvin Abramowitz $294,566 for the purchase of Property 1. Most of the loan proceeds were subsequently deposited into Philip Abramowitz’s bank account. Ultimately, Calvin Abramowitz never used Property 1 as a primary residence and rented the property to tenants for a year before ceasing mortgage payments and allowing the property to fall into foreclosure.
As detailed in his plea agreement, Philip Abramowitz arranged the sale of his second Potomac Street property (Property 2) in March 2017 to another family member (Relative 1) using an FHA-insured loan. To facilitate the sale of Property 2, Relative 1 applied for an FHA-insured loan with another mortgage company (Mortgage Company 2). Using the same manner to defraud Mortgage Company 1, Philip Abramowitz concealed his familial relation to Relative 1, falsely listed his property manager as the sole seller and owner of Property 2 and submitted multiple fraudulent documents to Mortgage Company 2, including an LLC affidavit of title asserting that no other person or entity had ownership in Property 2.
As he did in the sale of Property 1, Philip Abramowitz violated FHA-loan requirements by: providing Relative 1 $8,750 for the closing costs of the sale; misrepresenting his own bank account information as Relative 1’s in the FHA-loan procurement process; and having the majority of the loan proceeds deposited to his personal bank account. Relative 1 never used Property 2 as a primary residence or paid monthly mortgage payments to Mortgage Company 2, which caused the property to fall into foreclosure.
Calvin Abramowitz, age 48, of Lakewood, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with his role in the scheme and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. Judge Bennett has scheduled sentencing for Calvin Abramowitz on December 6, 2022, at 2:30 p.m.