A New Jersey man who copped to stealing nearly $1.5 million from financially distressed homeowners, investors and institutions was sentenced to over 13 years in prison Tuesday in Rhode Island federal court, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Hasan Hussain, 57, of Princeton, New Jersey, was the mastermind behind a six-year-long scheme in which he tricked vulnerable homeowners into selling their properties at reduced prices before he flipped the homes and sold them to investors at much higher rates, the DOJ said in its statement.
The 159-month sentence requested by the government was handed down despite Hussain’s plea for leniency in his sentencing memorandum. He argued his pattern of criminal activity was exacerbated by his battle with bipolar disorder, court filings show. Hussain will also be subject to four years of supervised release and must pay $1.4 million in restitution to his victims, according to the DOJ.
In his guilty plea, Hussain admitted to using various business entities to persuade “desperate and struggling” property owners looking for loan modifications to pay him fees, move out of their homes, and sell their houses to him in short sale transactions, the government said.
He then got lenders to agree to artificially low sale prices for the homes by having third-party individuals damage the properties ahead of the short sales, according to the DOJ.
Hussain further conceded he helped investors get federally backed mortgages through fraudulent applications, and used tactics including cutting and pasting signatures on property deeds and financial documents, the DOJ said.