With her sights set on a condominium in Longboat Key, Florida, on the state’s Gulf Coast, Marilyn Mosby received a text from her mortgage broker.

The mortgage broker, Gilbert Bennett, wrote that a couple of people had told him to write a letter to the lender, United Wholesale Mortgage. He had already helped her purchase a home in Kissimmee, Florida, not far from Walt Disney World, using Cardinal Financial Company LP.

“You love your house in Kissimmee have spent over 40 days there since purchasing it, got your kids Disney passes blah blah,” Bennett, who works at My Easy Mortgage, texted on Dec. 4, 2020. “[Y]our sister bought a beach house that you absolutely adore and now another one just popped on the market and you want to buy it. Its across the street from thr Beach and literally next door to your sister who you’re super close to and your favorite all time mortgage lender.”

Mosby wrote the letter but did not follow all his suggestions or make all his edits.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

She reported that she had been staying for the past 70 days in Florida. Federal prosecutors, though, allege that she had only spent the last 37 days in the state — one of several false statements they say she made on the two mortgage applications.

Mosby, 44, a Democrat who served two terms as Baltimore state’s attorney from 2015-2023, is now standing trial in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on two counts of making a false statement on a loan application.

Bennett was among several witnesses who testified for the defense on Monday and Tuesday and provided insight into what happened during the mortgage process. Mosby’s attorneys contend that she had never purchased real estate before and acted in good faith, relying upon family members and licensed professionals.

U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby adjourned court in the afternoon to give Mosby more time to decide whether to testify in her own defense. The trial is scheduled to resume on Wednesday.

In response to questions from Assistant Federal Public Defender Sedira Banan, one of Mosby’s attorneys, Bennett said he routinely helps clients fill out mortgage applications, which include a section for listing assets and liabilities.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The liabilities, he said, come from a credit report.

If the company is working with the same borrower again on a purchase, Bennett testified, he will copy over information from the initial file. He said people sign a lot of documents at closing.

Mosby is accused of failing to disclose that she and her husband at the time owed tens of thousands of dollars in federal taxes or report the existence of a more than $45,000 tax lien on the mortgage applications.

Her now ex-husband, Nick, president of Baltimore City Council, testified that he repeatedly lied about taking care of their tax issues to protect the family.

One week before she closed on the home, Mosby signed a contract with a property management and vacation rental company, Executive Villas Florida. She then signed a document agreeing that she would maintain “exclusive control” over the property for at least one year, according to testimony.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Bennett testified that he advises people that they have to stay at a property at least one night each year to consider it a second home. He said he was not sure whether he discussed renting out the house with Mosby.

“I don’t recall a specific conversation about that, no,” Bennett testified.

When she looked to buy the condo, Mosby, he testified, tried to put down $5,000 as a deposit from a bank account that she shared with one of her daughters. But the mortgage company would not accept that money, Bennett said.

So, Bennett said, he introduced the concept of a gift letter to Mosby and provided her with a template.

Prosecutors allege that she falsely reported that her husband had agreed to gift her $5,000 to move forward to closing and lock in an interest rate. Bank records, though, show that she wired him the money after she got paid.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Next, Shannon Yost, operations manager and processor at My Easy Mortgage, testified that she helped Mosby as best she could with closing on the properties.

On cross-examination, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Delaney asked Yost if she signs the mortgage applications and attests that the information in them is correct.

Said Yost: “I do not.”

More From The Banner