Ex-Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby found guilty of mortgage fraud

Former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby leaves U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Tuesday after a jury found her guilty of one of two counts of making a false statement on a loan application. (Kirk McKoy/The Baltimore Banner)

Mosby, 44, was found guilty of one count of making a false statement on a loan application in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt but not guilty on a second count.

Former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was found guilty on Tuesday of lying on the mortgage application for one of two luxury vacation homes in Florida that she bought while serving as the city’s top prosecutor.

Mosby, 44, a Democrat who served two terms from 2015-2023, stood trial in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on two counts of making a false statement on a loan application.

The jury deliberated for more than seven hours and determined that she lied when she wrote a letter claiming that her husband at the time had agreed to gift her $5,000 at closing toward a condominium in Longboat Key, Florida, on the state’s southwest Gulf Coast.

But the panel concluded that she did not make a false statement on a mortgage application for a home in Kissimmee, Florida, not far from Walt Disney World.

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When the verdict was read at 5:36 p.m., Mosby let out a gasp and sobbed. She did not make a statement outside the courthouse and climbed into a waiting Chevrolet Suburban. Her supporters then started chanting, “We love Marilyn!”

The verdict marks the second time in four months that Mosby has been convicted of a federal crime. A jury found her guilty in 2023 of two counts of perjury.

“We humbly respect the court’s considered rulings, opposing counsels’ zealous advocacy, and the wisdom of both jury verdicts in this case and we remain focused on our mission to uphold the rule of law,” U.S. Attorney Erek Barron said in a statement.

Federal prosecutors argued at the trial that Mosby was a smart and sophisticated lawyer who repeatedly lied to influence lenders while serving as the elected state’s attorney of the largest city in Maryland. Her attorneys contended that she was a rookie when it came to real estate and acted in good faith, relying on family members and licensed professionals to help her navigate an unfamiliar and complicated process.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean Delaney and Aaron Zelinsky called six witnesses in their document-heavy case who outlined how Mosby and her husband owed tens of thousands of dollars in federal taxes, which resulted in the Internal Revenue Service obtaining a more than $45,000 tax lien against them in 2020.

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Later, Mosby filled out a mortgage application for a home in Kissimmee and did not disclose that she owed taxes and certified that she was neither delinquent nor in default on any federal debt, according to testimony.

Though Mosby signed a document stating that she would use the property as a second home and maintain exclusive control over it for at least one year, testimony revealed, she signed a contract a week earlier with a property management and vacation rental company, Executive Villas Florida.

Next, Mosby filled out a mortgage application for a condo in Longboat Key, testimony showed, and again did not disclose that she owed taxes and certified that she was neither delinquent nor in default on any federal debt.

Mosby wrote a letter in which she reported that she and her family had spent the past 70 days in Florida. But, according to testimony, she had only spent the last 37 days in the state.

She also submitted a letter claiming that her husband had agreed to gift her $5,000 at closing. The government alleges that she did so to lock in a lower interest rate.

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FBI forensic accountant Jenna Bender testified that bank records showed that Mosby provided him with that money after receiving her next paycheck. The government also recalled her as a witness rebuttal.

“There is only one person responsible for these lies,” Zelinsky said in his closing argument. “The only person responsible for these lies is the person who lied over and over and over again, the former chief prosecutor for the city of Baltimore: Marilyn J. Mosby.”

The jury, though, concluded that she only made only one of seven false statements that were alleged in the indictment.

Meanwhile, Federal Public Defender James Wyda and Assistant Federal Public Defenders Maggie Grace and Sedira Banan, Mosby’s attorneys, called eight witnesses including their client’s now ex-husband, Nick, a Democrat who’s president of Baltimore City Council.

He took the blame for creating the tax debt and testified that he repeatedly lied to her about taking care of it to protect their family.

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Her mortgage broker, Gilbert Bennett, said he helped with the mortgage applications and stated that the liabilities listed in the documents came from a credit report.

His testimony revealed that he suggested submitting a letter of explanation. Bennett also brought up the concept of a gift letter after the mortgage company would not accept $5,000 from a bank account that Mosby shared with one of her daughters.

Later, Mosby testified that she read the mortgage applications and believed that the information in them was accurate. She said she was a first-time home buyer and trusted her husband, her real estate agent and her mortgage broker.

“You will see that the evidence is the reality of life. And the reality of life is messy and complicated,” Grace said in her closing argument. “But complicated does not mean criminal.”

Mosby rose to national prominence in 2015 when she charged six Baltimore Police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man who died from injuries sustained in custody. None of the cases resulted in convictions.

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She ran for a third term as state’s attorney but lost in the Democratic primary in 2022. Ivan Bates, a defense attorney and a former assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore, came out on top and ran unopposed on Election Day.

In 2023, Mosby was found guilty of two counts of perjury after a jury concluded that she twice lied to withdraw $90,000 that she would not have otherwise been able to access from a retirement account under a provision in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. She then used that money to buy the house and condo.

By choosing to testify, Mosby opened the door to the jury learning about her previous convictions.

Mosby faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on each count of perjury. Meanwhile, making a false statement on a loan application comes with a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. But people often receive punishments that are far lower.

U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby said she would reach out to the parties about further court proceedings.

“Thank you,” Griggsby said, “we shall stand adjourned.”

Dylan Segelbaum is the courts reporter at The Baltimore Banner. 

More from Dylan Segelbaum

First appeared on www.thebaltimorebanner.com

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