Title company owners plead guilty in flipping case

Couple admit fraudulent loan settlements

October 02, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The owners of a Baltimore real estate title company pleaded guilty to conspiracy yesterday in U.S. District Court, admitting that they conducted multiple fraudulent loan settlements as part of a property flipping scheme estimated to cost the government nearly $600,000 after loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration went into default.

Edward Charles Rybczynski and his wife, Andrea Marie Rybczynski, operators of Liberty Title Co., each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy before U.S. District Judge William M. Nickerson. They were among 18 people charged in fraudulent property transactions linked to former Perry Hall real estate broker William Otto Schmidbauer.

Federal prosecutors have said that Schmidbauer bought low-cost houses and resold them at inflated prices, often to straw buyers. Court records filed yesterday said that in several instances, the Rybczynskis knowingly conducted loan settlements for straw purchasers or falsely certified that settlement funds paid by Schmidbauer had been provided by the homebuyer.

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