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Last Updated Friday, February 29, 2008 5:30 PM Texas Time

February 29, 2008

Sentencing for Mortgage Fraud Culprit Postponed
James J. Lytle was convicted in a Walworth County, Wis., mortgage fraud scheme for fraudulently selling 18 properties by inflating the appraisals and selling properties to people who never planned to live in the homes. He knew he was prison-bound, but his sentencing will remain up in the air while the total losses accrued from the scam that he and others ran are figured out by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and a federal judge.
read story from The Janesville Gazette

Two Identity Theft Criminals Plead Guilty
Dewayne Gilmore and Nicole Hymon pleaded guilty to charges of identity theft and conspiracy after they stole social security numbers and dates of birth from customers at CCO Mortgage in Richmond, Va., where Hymon was an employee. Both face repercussions of maximum prison sentences of between two and five years and fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
read story from

Two Men Caught for Mortgage Fraud in Helena
Todd Rice was sentenced to one year in prison and must pay a $15,000 fine for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scam in which he purchased four houses four houses with no down payment in Helena, Mont. Mortgage broker Scott Hilgers, who helped Rice in the scandal, is currently in the Montana State Prison serving a five-year term for theft and issuing bad checks and will serve five more years after that for his involvement in the scheme with Rice.
read story from The Helena Independent Record

One Broker Loses License, Another Gets Suspension for Mortgage Fraud
Real estate broker Tracy T. Todd lost his license, while Steve G. Boyer’s was suspended for 90 days for their involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme in Greeley, Colo. Todd would offer to buy houses at artificially inflated prices to get large sums of money back at closing. In one case, Todd offered $425,000 to the seller but required a $135,000 "consulting fee" to be paid to Medicine Creek Consulting, a company owned by one of Todd’s business partners, at closing. Boyer participated in another one of Todd’s transactions that led to Boyer’s suspension.
read story from The Tribune

Four More Indicted in Mortgage Fraud Scam
Moemen Ibrahim, Alaa Aboulenein, Dijana Ibrahim and Hany Bekhit have been added to the list of those indicted in a mortgage fraud scheme in Ohio. Alaa, Bekhit and Moemen Ibrahim were each charge with five counts of money laundering, two counts of forgery and one count each of aggravated theft and receiving stolen property. Dijana Ibrahim faces 16 counts involving similar charges.
read story from Columbus Business First

Man Faces Prison Time After Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Isacc Yass was charged with six counts of aggravated identity theft and was arrested in California for mortgage fraud crimes he committed in Kansas. He faces up to 30 years in a federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million on each count of mail fraud, along with a mandatory two years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count of aggravated identity theft.
read story from Wichita Business Journal

Man Gets to Keep Houses Obtained Through Mortgage Fraud
Todd Rice was sentenced to a year in prison and must pay a $15,000 fine for working with a mortgage broker to falsify documents to buy four houses, but he will be allowed to keep the homes he purchased with false mortgages in Helena, Mont.
read story from Montana’s News Station

February 28, 2008

Organization Announces Free Help for Mortgage Fraud Victims
Consejo de Latinos Unidos, a consumer advocacy group that investigates and informs citizens about consumer fraud and abuses, announced it will give free aid to thousands of Southern California homeowners who have lost their homes, are in the process of losing their homes or believe they will lose their homes soon as a result of mortgage fraud.

Mortgage Broker Pleads Guilty in Fraud Case
Mortgage broker Edwin Evans, who has already had served time in prison for rape and armed robbery, pleaded guilty in a mortgage fraud case in Chicago and could face at least 27 months in prison. His record show numerous counts of fraud, including in 2003 when Evans was accused of committing fraud against a mentally disabled man by setting up a $94,000 mortgage on the man's home and then taking $65,000 of the mortgage earnings. His sentencing is scheduled for May 7.
read story from Chicago Tribune

February 27, 2008

How to Stay Protected from Identity Theft and Fraud
The Florida Attorney General’s Office is offering advice to citizens on how to protect themselves from identity theft and fraud. Potential victims can follow the four steps given and use the contact information for help in staying protected.
read story from WFTV Orlando

SEC Charges Three with Fraud
James B. Duncan, Hendrix Montecastro and Maurice E. McLeod were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with mortgage fraud targeting military families in Murrieta, Calif. The three men allegedly violated federal security laws and face the possibility of permanent injunctions, restitution of "ill-gotten gains" and civil penalties. Christopher J. Oetting, Anthony M. Contreras and Biocybernaut Institute Inc. are also named as defendants for profiting from the alleged fraud.
read story from The Press-Enterprise

February 26, 2008

Law Enforcement Cracks Down on Mortgage Fraud in Treasure Coast
The Treasure Coast in Florida is one of the top spots in the nation for mortgage fraud, and the FBI, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other local law enforcement agencies are teaming up to investigate all types of mortgage fraud. A growing trend nationally, 14,000 reports of fraud in 2008 alone have already been presented to investigators throughout the United States. Florida’s past strong real estate market helped hide the crime in the past, but investigators have uncovered more schemes as the market has slowed down.
read story from TC Palm

Investigations Underway for Mortgage Fraud in California
The FBI is investigating matters involving Scott Reynolds, former real estate agent of David Crisp and Carl Cole, after Reynolds purchased a property from real estate agents Crisp and Cole for $414 thousand with 100-percent financing from SunTrust mortgage in July 2006. The house in Kern County, Calif., went into foreclosure at the end of the year and later sold for $240 thousand, a loss to the lender of at least $174 thousand.
read story from

Pair Faces Prison Time for Credit Card Fraud
James Felipe Jimenez and Bethanie Ann Moore were sentenced to nine-and-a-half years and six years in prison, respectively, for their involvement in a credit card fraud scandal that cost merchants in Phoenix, Ariz., thousands of dollars. The two admitted to spending between $8,000 and $10,000 per day and will serve a three-year term of supervised probation after they are released from the Department of Corrections.
read story from

read filing indicating case was dismissed

Three Men in Mortgage Fraud Case Face Multiple Charges
Gihan Zalat and Scott S. McCann were charged in identical 14-count indictments for their participation in a mortgage fraud scheme in Ohio. Both are charged with 10 counts of money laundering, three counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and single counts of aggravated theft and receiving stolen property. Zalat, former co-owner of the Happy Greek restaurant in the South Campus Gateway, was arrested and is in jail under a $1 million bond, while McCann has a warrant out for his arrest. Raed Yaish, also involved in the scandal, is charged with two counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, two counts of money laundering and aggravated theft and was arrested while leaving a plane at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.
read story from The Columbus Dispatch
| read filing indicating case was dismissed

February 25, 2008

Milwaukee Man Will Plead Guilty to Fraud Charges
Steven Buehrens agreed to plead guilty to mortgage fraud charges after he allegedly swindled banks, home buyers and a property title service company in Milwaukee out of more than $900,000 by preparing fake mortgage satisfaction documents. He faces a fine of up to $1 million and up to 30 years in prison.
read story from The Business Journal of Milwaukee

Fraud-Scheme Mastermind Denied Bail Request
Former real estate agent investor Lance Lockard was denied bail after facing charges of orchestrating 57 phony real estate loans in the Anchorage, Alaska, between 2003 and 2006. Lockard was arrested in December in Orlando, Fla., days after being indicted in Anchorage for allegedly using fake home loans to earn more than $1 million in illegal gains. His trial is set for April, but it is believed he will ask for a delay and will reapply for bail.
read story from Anchorage Daily News

Fraud Complaints Grow, But Funding Shrinks in Santa Clara
While the complaints of mortgage fraud to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office are on the rise, funding for the prosecution of these cases is declining. The DA’s office opened 125 new mortgage fraud case investigations in 2007, four times the amount in the previous year. Victims lost a total of more than $40 million in the 2006-07 fiscal year.
read story from San Jose Mercury News

Banks Under Lawsuit After Involvement in Fraud
BB&T of Winston-Salem, United Community Bank of Georgia and Carolina First of South Carolina have been added to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that resulted from an unsuccessful real estate scheme in North Carolina. Investors filed the lawsuit after the venture caused consumers to borrow a total of $100 million to buy properties that are currently worth much less.
read story from The Times and Democrat

How Fraud Led to Overlooking a Corpse
Countrywide Home Loans, the nation's largest mortgage lender, made mortgages of $450,000 on a Cook County, Ill., property that was transferred three times to new owners before anyone noticed the dead body of former owner’s son Randy Johnson sitting inside the house.
read story from Chicago Tribune

Fraud “Clusters” on the Rise
Lorraine Machado, a middle-school teacher in West Los Angeles, was not the only educator victim to identity theft, as fraud “clusters” are growing at a rapid speed. Investigators have found it is sometimes easier to catch the criminal when large numbers of victims are involved because of the greater number of clues available. Nothing has unraveled in the instance of the teachers, and only less than 1 percent of such cases are ever solved.
read story from Los Angeles Times

Three Men Indicted on Mortage Fraud Charges
Gihan Zalat, Scott McCann and Raed Yaish were indicted for partaking in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud ring that used dishonest appraisers and brokers to swindle funds from more than eight banks in central Ohio. Zalat and McCann face 10 counts of money laundering, three counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and single counts of aggravated theft and receiving stolen property. Yaish is charged with two counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, two counts of money laundering and aggravated theft.
read story from The Examiner

Florida Man Guilty of Mortgage Fraud, Will Serve Eight Years
Bradford C. Peck pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering in Tallahassee, Florida. He was part of a criminal enterprise that submitted almost 130 loan applications to Argent Mortgage Company, resulting in funding for approximately $13 million in home loans. On top of his prison time, Peck must pay restitution to Argent, and he also must reimburse the state for the cost of the investigation and prosecution.
read story from

Make-It-Right Program Recipient Faces up to Five Years for Loan Fraud
Robert Green, who lost his home and two family members to Hurricane Katrina, will be sentenced after pleading guilty last April to charges of making false tax returns attached to fake home loan applications from as far back as 2001. Green was one of the first to receive a new home from the Make It Right program, which Brad Pitt envisioned to help the devastation that followed the hurricane in the Lower 9th Ward. Green now faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
read story from

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