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Real estate marketer pleads guilty to bank fraud

One of two owners of a Woodbridge-based real estate company blamed for millions in losses for both banks and ordinary investors has pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud.

The Thursday guilty plea by Mark R. Dain, 33, of Fairfax came with little publicity from federal authorities, who offered no explanation for the timing of the plea – five years after the last transactions – or the fact that Dain’s partner in Total Realty Management has never been charged.

A Washington Post reporter was the only member of the public in attendance as Dain explained his plea to U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III.

Dain said his company – TRM – submitted loan applications with inflated income and assets to get bank loans for otherwise unqualified borrowers. Dain’s actions were responsible for more than $7 million in bank losses, the government said.

Dain offered to surrender himself to federal authorities on Wednesday, even though his sentencing was scheduled for October.  He faces up to 30 years, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Dain told the judge he has worked part time in the last five years as a paralegal and law clerk at the Reston law firm founded by his father, Robert Dain, according to the paper.

From 2006 to 2008, Dain and partner Mark Jalajel used TRM to market waterfront properties in North and South Carolina, with many of the buyers from Northern Virginia.

Left with next-to-worthless properties, heavy debts and even bankruptcies, hundreds of buyers sought to recover from banks that issued their purchase loans, claiming the banks were fully aware of the shaky foundation of the transactions.

After first kicking the claims out of court, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee cited new disclosures in allowing claims against Bank of America to go forward in 2010. The bank claims were settled in 2011.

Jalajel has never been charged in connection with the real estate fraud, although several of TRM’s loan officers received prison time for falsifying loan documents. Jalajel lost his bid to discharge investors’ claims against him in bankruptcy court in 2010 when a judge found he hid the value of his personal jewelry.

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