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Last Updated Friday, February 27, 2009 10:00 PM Texas Time

February 27, 2009

No Mortgages Here

A real estate developer pleaded guilty to lying to private investors about the status of 16 apartment buildings in upper Manhattan. About 70 people who believed she owned the properties with a first mortgage loaned her more than $27 million for renovations. She faces up to 20 years in prison.

Living High Life Right to Prison

Three of 10 co-defendants were sentenced for their roles in a mortgage fraud scheme in Phoenix, San Diego and Las Vegas that led to a $2.5 million loss to lenders. Sentences ranged from 14 months to four years in prison. The trio reportedly used the proceeds to live a lavish lifestyle.

FBI, HUD Get Raises from Washington

Obama's budget plan includes a raise for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development so the agencies can get better prepared to manage the prevention of and prosecution of mortgage fraud activity.

Copy That

Miami-Dade officials are seeking legislative assistance to create a nationwide mortgage fraud task force modeled after their own county's to increase vigilance.

Hang-up in Judgment

The vote on legislation to allow bankruptcy judges modify the principal and interest rates on mortgages for homeowners has been canceled.

February 26, 2009

Cash Back Scheme Busted

Four California residents have been indicted in a cash-back mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in a loss of more than $1 million to lenders including Washington Mutual and Countrywide Bank. The scheme involved five houses in South Lake Tahoe and Nevada City.

Suspicious Activity Reports Examined

Almost 900 depository institutions filed 62,084 suspicious activity reports (SAR) related to suspected mortgage fraud between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008. More than half of those reports were filed by only 10 of those lending institutions.

Fraud Trio

Stolen identities and false information were used to help three individuals run a multimillion-dollar mortgage scheme over a four year period. The trio racked up about $2.6 million worth of illegally obtained mortgage loans.

Former Bank VP Pleads Guilty

The former bank vice president who forged her husband's name to secure a $200,000 mortgage on their out-of-state lake property said she did it to help a friend.

Home Improvement was Home Scam

Homeowners who thought they were signing a payment contract for roof repair found out they were duped into signing for a second mortgage on their home to line the pockets of the home improvement company owner.

Mortgage Fraud Education

Local authorities are taking it upon themselves to educate the public about the dangers of fraud lurking in foreclosure rescue programs, mortgage elimination schemes, predatory lending and other popular scams.

February 25, 2009

Telling It Like It Is

A former mortgage company owner that runs a mortgage fraud investigative firm and authored a book about today's mortgage fraud epidemic shares his thoughts on the current industry's environment.

RE Agent Loses License

A real estate agent has lost his license after falsely inflating the sales prices on luxury homes in an exclusive gated community in Utah.

Charges Dropped

Two men were acquitted by a federal jury of conspiring in a $58 million mortgage fraud ring. Four others, however, pleaded guilty before trial.

Everyone is Innocent (Until Proven Guilty)

A 35-year-old Pennsylvania man, who has reported ties to a prominent Pittsburgh developer whose actions are under scrutiny, has pleaded not guilty to participating in a mortgage fraud scheme.

Politician Pleads Innocent

A former mayoral candidate has pleaded not guilty to charges that he defrauded mortgage lenders and others purchase luxury vehicles and an airplane. He has also been accused of arson after fire destroyed the property in question.

February 24, 2009

Straw Buyer Worked at Pizzeria

A 25-year-old woman claimed to make $5,500 a month on a loan application and $8,500 a month on another in order to secure financing as a straw buyer in a mortgage fraud scheme; however, she made only $8 an hour working at a local pizzeria.

Three Flippers Challenge Verdict

Three people convicted of mortgage fraud crimes in Mississippi are appealing before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals next month.

Marital Mortgage Fraud

A husband and wife aided and abetted one another in order to defraud three banks out of millions of dollars in mortgage loans.

Cooperation Could Payoff

A 33-year-old Ohio man who pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud is asking for a lesser sentence in exchange for his assistance in prosecuting others who have committed related crimes.

Conflict in Hawaiian Law

An omission in a law set to protect homeowners from predators has caused a snag. Real estate professionals have been unable to help homeowners who are facing foreclosure due to the faux pas that was developed to help prevent mortgage fraud.

February 23, 2009

LO Buys House in Unwitting Girlfriend's Name

A former Portland loan officer allegedly bought houses for his girlfriend with three fraudulent mortgage applications, including one in her name without her knowledge. The total loan amount using inflated purchase prices was $1.5 million.

17 Governmental Agencies Form New Task Force

A mortgage fraud task force is assembling to help combat the ramped fraud and prevent future fraudulent behavior in Maryland and Virginia.

Flipping Straw Buyer Sentenced

A Miami man who flipped homes after falsely inflating the sales prices has been sentenced to 27 months in prison. One luxury home was flipped three times in two years with an inflated value that more than doubled.

Foreclosure Halted in Mortgage Fraud Case

A family who lost title to their home in Hawaii due to an alleged mortgage fraud scheme is being allowed to remain in the home while the case proceeds.

Halfway House Buyers: More Details

Ex-convicts and public housing residents who were solicited to participate in a $10 million mortgage fraud scheme were told they would be helping save people's home from foreclosure.

Drug Dealer Indicted on Mortgage Fraud

A convicted drug dealer turned licensed mortgage broker is now facing charges of running a fraud ring that duped lenders out of $2.3 million in losses. Prosecutors said the reputed street gang leader used false information and an unlicensed appraiser in the scheme.

Guilty for Lying

A St. Louis man pleaded guilty to making a false statement to a lender in order to secure mortgage financing without having to make a down payment.

Bank VP Defrauds Employer

A former vice president of a small community bank in Minnesota allegedly duped the bank out of $200,000 by illegally opening up a line of credit.

Conviction in Multimillion-Dollar Fraud

A 49-year-old Tampa man was convicted for his role in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded seven banks.

Sentencing Takes Twists and Turns

The sentencing for two men found guilty of racketeering and theft involving a $6 million mortgage fraud scheme in the southwestern suburbs of Minnesota took some unexpected turns.

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