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Last Updated Friday, February 16, 2007, 04:49 PM Texas Time

Crooked Lawyers

A former Kansas elected official who is in trouble along with her attorney husband for alleged mortgage fraud highlights the latest edition of Lawyers Gone Wild.

Katheryn Shields, 60, the former Jackson County executive and her husband, attorney Philip Cardarella, 59, have been indicted along with nine other people on federal charges of "conspiracy and wire fraud for their role in a scheme to engage in mortgage fraud," according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Bradley Schlozman.

"This case represents another tragic example of intelligent individuals -- including lawyers and prominent elected officials -- thumbing their noses at the law in the pursuit of quick and easy cash," said Schlozman, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District if Missouri in Kansas City.

The couple could not be reached to comment, but they have maintained their innocence in published reports.

MortgageDaily.com subscribers read Patrick's full story

Legislator Accused of Foreclosure Fraud

The Maryland Attorney General is looking into claims that a state legislator duped a woman into selling her home to him.

In a lawsuit filed in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, Teresa Milligan accuses Maryland State Delegate William "Tony" McConkey, a Republican and a real estate broker, of foreclosure rescue fraud.

McConkey has denied Milligan's claims that he somehow tricked Milligan into singing over her house to him.

Kevin Enright, a spokesman for Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, confirmed to MortgageDaily.com that the attorney general's office is "looking into the matter."

MortgageDaily.com subscribers read Patrick's full story

February 16, 2007

Man Accused of Mortgage Fraud
Michael J. Edison was indicted on charges for allegedly stealing more than $2 million from a San Francisco woman as he used her name to obtain funds for things including a mortgage and second credit line with Countrywide Mortgage.

read story from the San Francisco Gate.

Undercover Investigations Bust Mortgage Fraud
Police in Houston are fighting mortgage fraud by doing undercover investigations, an effort landed Doris Chen and seven others in jail.

read story from the KHOU.

Seniors: Targets of Mortgage Fraud
One of the more serious forms of fraud scam artists use against elderly people is persuading seniors to sign mortgage papers before having a chance to review them.

read story from the Record.

Man Admits FHA Fraud
Timothy Falls pleaded guilty to forming part of a mortgage fraud scam in which he falsified his income, credit and the value of a home when he applied for a Federal Housing Administration-insured loan through Citywide Mortgage Co., which prosecutors say was also in on the scam.

read story from KATC 3.

February 15, 2007

Foreclosure "Rescuer" Steals Woman's Home
Getting attorney advice and refusing to sign blank documents could have saved an alleged victim of foreclosure rescue fraud from unknowingly signing over the deed to her home to a man who came to her home promising to save her from foreclosure.

read story from WRCB-TV.

Investigator Fights Mortgage Fraud
The city of Madison, Miss. hired Jim King, the first local officer on a state task force that aims to combat mortgage fraud, who says that he has handled 30 to 40 cases since signing on to the job three months ago.

read story from the Clarion-Ledger .

Man Steals ID for Mortgage
Charges against Felipe Osornio accuse the man of using a 19-year-old woman's Social Security number since she was 14 years old to obtain a mortgage, car loan, several credit card accounts and a cell phone.

read story from the Daily Herald.

2 Businessmen Admit Fraud
Robert C. Thigpen and Erich J. Haskell, who operated Heritage Lending Group mortgage company and Superior Home Builders Inc. and admitted to a scheme involving the use of HUD loans for their personal benefit, face five years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

read story from the Augusta Chronicle.

February 14, 2007

Tool Fights ID Fraud in Mortgages
More identity verification and due diligence tools now integrated into Bridger Insight XG

Questions Can Prevent Fraud
Asking questions before signing a mortgage is one thing borrowers can do to avoid being taken in by mortgage fraud, which is being called the country's fastest-growing white-collar crime and costs lenders more than $1 billion a year.

read story from NorthJersey.

SunTrust Employee Forges Mortgage
A SunTrust Bank employee surrendered to police after allegedly creating a fake letter and forging a signature in a mortgage application to try and save his job.

read story from the Savannah Morning News.

Bill Seeks Less Foreclosures
The Senate backed a Colorado bill, intended to reduce foreclosures, that seeks to bar a mortgage broker from pressuring or paying an appraiser to inflate property values, triple damages for those who do so, and prevent brokers who are sued or banned for unfair trade practices to lose their right to practice.

read story from the San Francisco Examiner.

2 Sentenced for Mortgage Scam
James Thomas Davis, owner of Easy Financial Services, and home builder David Layton were sentenced to prison for allegedly engaging in a mortgage scheme in which Davis would pocket the difference from inflated offers on newly built homes, and in which investors were used to obtain loans for homes meant to be inhabited by them but were instead rented out.

read story from the News & Observer.

Iowa AG Wants Tougher Law
Attorney General Tom Miller is proposing to have tighter laws for subprime lenders that would also ban lenders from misrepresenting a consumer's income to qualify for a loan and promising to refinance borrowers into better terms at a later time.

read story from ABC 5.

February 13, 2007

Investment Scam Uses Fraudulent Mortgages
A lawsuit naming James Duncan, Maurice McLeod and Hendrix Montecastro has been filed for their alleged involvement in a scheme in which investment cash was raised through mortgages for properties with inflated values.

read story from the Press-Enterprise.

February 12, 2007

Subprime Borrowers Apt to Rescue Scams
Economist predicts higher foreclosure numbers will prompt more "rescue" loans

Tips to Avoid Foreclosure Scams
Accepting "bargain loans," or "easy credit," and signing deeds and documents before reviewing carefully are all red flags for foreclosure fraud.

read story from the Seattle Times.

Fraud Prompts Atlanta Foreclosures
Mortgage fraud has contributed to the growing number of foreclosures in Atlanta, which ranks third on a list of mortgage fraud hot spots, a real estate insider said.

read story from the USA Today.

Mortgage Closer's Scam Still Unfolding
Jill Lehn, an ex-mortgage closing agent, awaits sentencing after admitting to charges involving 60 real estate transactions in which property values were overstated and extra proceeds from mortgages were pocketed. The ongoing investigation of the transactions is expected to generate a series of arrests.

read story from the Star Tribune.

Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud
A guilty plea was entered by Mohammad "Mike" Taghie Kakvand, the ringleader in a mortgage scheme in which he allegedly bought condos that he did not renovate and sold as rehabbed condos at inflated prices, resulting in $29 million in defaulted loans to straw buyers and abandoned apartment buildings.

read story from the Chicago Sun-Times .

February 12, 2007

Fraud Fuels Early Defaults
Preventable mortgage fraud has played a role in the rash of early defaults plaguing mortgage lenders, according to a recent analysis.

MortgageDaily.com subscribers read full story.

Mortgage Scams Among Top FL Complaints
Florida attorney general warns consumers about mortgage fraud scams.

Avoiding Foreclosure Rescue Scams
Tips on how homeowners can avoid foreclosure and being duped by foreclosure "rescuers"

Privacy of Mortgage Fraud Evidence Prevails
Katheryn Shields, who is running for Kansas City, Mo., mayor, requested to have mortgage fraud evidence against her publicly released before the primary, but the request was denied because it would devastate the fair trial rights of 10 others allegedly involved in the fraud.

read story from The Kansas City Star.

IN Focused on Fighting Fraud
To combat Indiana's growth of mortgage fraud, state officials have launched several initiatives including the Mortgage Fraud and Title Insurance Task Force, a new real estate insurance division, and additional staff to monitor title companies and investigate consumer complaints.

read story from the South Bend Tribune .

Foreclosure Scams Expected to Grow
Foreclosure rescue scams, which make consumers believe their mortgages will be worked out with the bank but nothing happens while debt accumulates, have grown in number in the Charlotte, N.C., area and the Better Business Bureau predicts that even more consumer will complain about these scams this year.

read story from the Charlotte Observer .

Investor's Sentencing Delayed
The sentencing of real estate investor Steven Green, who admitted to fraud involving use of a false Social Security number to get a loan for an apartment complex, was delayed for a month due to a dispute by CharterMac about how much in damages Green's caused it through fraud.

read story from the St. Petersburg Times.

Lenders Among Top NC Complaints
Of the 20,257 complaints the North Carolina attorney general received in 2006, about 10 percent involved lenders and creditors, including mortgage bankers.

read story from the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Woman Investigated for ID, Mortgage Fraud
While an investigator of financial crimes has already secured criminal charges against Ida Mae James, a woman accused of using others' identities to get about $3 million in home mortgages, the case has the potential to get bigger through further research.

read story from the Star Tribune.

2 Fraudsters at Large
Authorities are still seeking Jessica Alvarado and Robert Mora, two of six people in a fraud ring that allegedly forged signatures on quitclaim deeds to transfer ownership of property and then borrowed mortgages against the properties and pocketed the proceeds.

read story from the Arizona Republic.


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  Patrick Crowley is fraud journalist for MortgageDaily.com and a reporter and columnist for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Email Patrick at: PatCrowley@FraudBlogger.com
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