Former hotel broker Robert T. Koger was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison for orchestrating a series of fraudulent schemes resulting in more than $55 million in losses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia.
Koger, 48, served as president and sole owner of Molinaro Koger, a hotel real estate brokerage firm in Vienna. According to court records, charges against the 48-year-old were tied to various schemes, including a pair that cost Host Hotels & Resorts more than $22 million.
In one scheme, Koger had been hired by Host, the country’s largest hotel owner, to sell two properties. Instead of selling to the highest bidders, Koger allegedly sold the properties to straw buyers, who then immediately resold them to the interested buyers for a profit. Koger allegedly orchestrated a similar deal in which a straw buyer purchased promissory notes backing European hotels that Host was interested in and then resold them to Host at a higher price, pocketing the difference. Molinaro Koger was ordered to pay $22.7 million to Host in 2012.
Other incidents included an alleged Ponzi scheme to steal and launder funds held in escrow for prospective hotel buyers and an extortion claim involving the owner of a Pittsburgh hotel. Koger pleaded guilty in January to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“Koger’s sentencing ensures that he can no longer abuse his trusted position as a broker to defraud his clients. Host is grateful for the government’s investigation and efforts,” Elizabeth A. Abdoo, general counsel and secretary for Host Hotels, said in a statement.
Abdoo added that Host will continue to pursue its complaints against Koger’s law firm, Fox Rothschild, in Montgomery County Circuit Court. The law firm, Abdoo alleged, played a role in misrepresenting deals and concealing fraud that helped Koger carry out his schemes.
“Robert Koger and Molinaro Koger could not have successfully completed the fraudulent schemes against Host but for the active and willful support of Fox,” she said.
Scott H. Marder, a partner at Duane Morris, the law firm representing Fox Rothschild, declined to comment specifically on the case. “We’re not aware of what occurred in court [yesterday] and therefore cannot comment,” Marder said.
Three of Koger’s alleged co-conspirators have pleaded guilty as part of the federal investigation. Jonathan Propp, former chief operating officer of Molinaro Koger, and Todd Lawyer, a business associate, both pleaded guilty for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Richard Harris III, former chief information officer of Molinaro Koger, entered a guilty plea for aggravated identity theft.
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