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Archives March 12, 2006


Fraud Stories From
Patrick Crowley
Fraud Wire

Georgia takes Action Against 2 Mortgage Brokers
Two women have been banned from originating mortgages in Georgia. Alleged mortgage fraud prompted the revocation of one's broker license while action was taken against the other as a result of operating without a license.

The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance has revoked the mortgage broker's license held by Diana Martin of Platinum Plus Financial Services in Atlanta. In a written statement, the department said it had uncovered evidence "that showed that Ms. Martin and Platinum Plus had made numerous misrepresentations in loan files that were submitted to lenders."

The department also announced it received a court order against Stone Mountain, Ga., mortgage broker Sonya Brown that requires her "to cease and desist from brokering mortgage loans."

A cease and desist order was actually ordered against Brown in September of 2004. But in a statement Rod Carnes, deputy commissioner for non-depository financial institutions, said the state "received evidence that Ms. Brown was still brokering mortgage loans in direct violation of state law."

read the rest of Patrick's story at MortgageDaily.com
(subscription required)

Land Contract Operation a Scam
A formerly high-flying land-contract brokerage has crumbled amidst criminal charges, burned investors and stunned borrowers.

At one time, Rod Wolford Sr. operated one of the largest land contract brokerages in the Midwest, handing millions of dollars worth of deals after learning about the business through cable TV infomercials and seminars.

Now, even his own son has turned against him.

Rod Wolford II testified against his father during an Iowa criminal trial that ended with the elder Wolford being convicted of 17 felonies and facing up to 165 years in jail. He will be sentenced April 21.

read all of Patrick's story at MortgageDaily.com
(subscription required)

March 10, 2006

Title Co. Owner Stole $3.5 Million
James Andrew Thurman, former owner of Phoenix Title and JAGMAC Real Estate, has been sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay over $2 million to the victims of a $2 million mortgage fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney's office announced.

Mortgage Scam Foiled by Broker
A borrower was called at work and told he owed $9,000 in late payments on his mortgage, but his mortgage broker confirmed it was a scam.
read story from The Maui News .

Tell Tale Fraud Signs
Changing the names on home purchase contracts or raising the price substantially just before closing can be a red flag for possible mortgage fraud.
read story from the Chattanoogan .

Pair Illegally Accesses Reverse Mortgage
William Patrick, who presented himself as a financial advisor, and handyman Michael Morales are accused of stealing $40,000 by illegally accessing a 75-year-old woman's reverse mortgage loan.
read story from the Sacramento Bee .

March 9, 2006

Mortgage Bankers Request Millions to Combat Fraud
The Mortgage Bankers Association sent a letter to Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, urging support for additional funding for the FBI's enforcement efforts on mortgage fraud.

Unlicensed Broker Shut Down - Again
Charlotte mortgage broker Stacy Laughter, owner of Tops Mortgage, continued to collect illegal fees on mortgages without a license, according to a local television station.
read story from WCNC 6News .

2 Fraud Suspects Apprehended at Closing
Syed Rehman and Ejaz Chaudhary, who allegedly planned to illegally flip a New Jersey property, were arrested at closing and charged with attempting to obtain a $355,000 mortgage on the property using stolen and false identities.
read story from the North County Gazette .

March 8, 2006

Preaching to the Choir
Rev. Roy E. Smith, founder and pastor of the nondenominational Church of Dominion, continues to preach despite being charged with falsifying paperwork to obtain $824,000 in loans for his church.
read story from the Tribune-Review .

County Asst. DA Fired for Fraud
Mark F. Morrison, a county assistant district attorney in Pennsylvania, was fired after First American Title Insurance Co. filed a lawsuit alleging he and his wife, Deborah DeFranks Morrison, forged closing documents bearing its name on real estate transactions through his private law practice.
read story from the Tribune-Review .

LO Gets Off Easy for $20 Mil Fraud
Former loan officer Alfredo Ramirez, who escaped a county prison sentence despite pleading guilty to helping five other people defraud HUD on more than $20 million in loans, did get a 5-month federal prison sentence.
read story from the Rocky Mountain News.

March 7, 2006

Collaboration Improves Fraud Prevention
DataVerify and TALX Corp. have teamed up to offer combined fraud-prevention services that include income verification, income verification and data verification.

March 6, 2006

How to Avoid Mortgage Fraud Losses
Illinois bankers have developed 10 tips that consumers can use to protect themselves against mortgage fraud.

Credit Card Fraud Prevention is Good Model for Mortgages
The evolution of credit card fraud prevention at banks offers some valuable insight for mortgage lenders looking to prevent mortgage fraud.
read story from MortgageDaily.com
(subscription required)
Woman Arrested at Fraudulent Closing
Donna June Baker was arrested at the real-estate closing of a property she allegedly attempted to use a stolen identity to buy.
read story from the Kalamazoo Gazette .

2 Mortgage Brokers Busted
John Wilfred Curley, owner of JC Lending, and Muhammad Adenwala, owner of Mountain View Mortgage, were arrested for allegedly forging documents on customers' homes to steal their equity.
read story from CBS 13 .

read: "Warehouse Lenders, Wholesalers Deceived by Network of Companies" from MortgageDaily.com
(subscription required)

101 Incarceration Days
Gerald P. Small III was sentenced to 101 months in federal prison for submitting fake files through his company, Amerifunding.
read story from The Denver Business Journal .

Fugitive Arrested for Fraud on NFL Star's Home
O.T. Austin, the central figure in a mortgage fraud case involving the home of NFL star Deion Sanders, was arrested after a car dealership employee called the police to report the fugitive after seeing him on a TV news story.
read story from WFAA-TV .

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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