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Last Updated Friday, March 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

March 16, 2007

Shredder Fights Tax Season Fraud
Shred Nations offers tips to help protect yourself from identity thieves in the tax season

FBI Releases Web Fraud Stats
2006 Internet Fraud Crime Report shows widespread crime

Rent-to-Buy Scam Evicts Leaseholders
Raymond Zwego, a co-defendant in the alleged mortgage fraud case involving former Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields, is being investigated for any link to a mortgage scam that led renters to believe they were leasing homes with an option to buy, but at the failure of mortgage payments by property owners, are instead being evicted.

read story from KMBC-TV

Title Agent Faces New Trial
A jury acquitted Anita Peterson, a title agent and former owner of Mountain Valley Abstract, on two charges but must proceed with a new trial as it couldn't decide on six other counts that include tampering with home closing documents.

read story from the Pocono Record

4 Face Mortgage Fraud Charges
Sammy Quick and Brian Cicerchi, doing business as First Primary Mortgage Inc., are being accused of deceiving a woman out of her home, an associate, Leslie Looney, faces similar charges, and Willard Horne Jr. is being accused of stealing a elderly woman's home while she was in a nursing home.

read story from the Plain Dealer

Judgement Favoring Housing Agency Upheld
A judge upheld a $7 million judgement against Robert L. McWhirk, an outside counsel for the California Housing and Finance Agency, and John G. Schienle, the agency director in the mid-90s, for bilking the agency through a company they set up to process mortgage insurance premium payments under a contract that allowed the firm to keep large portions of the collections.

read story from the Denver Post

March 15, 2007

Government Combats ID, Mortgage Fraud
To combat the chances of local business owners being one of 10 million annual victims of identity theft and sharing some of the $48 billion out-of-pocket losses businesses incur due to such fraud, the Olney & the Greater Richland County Chamber of Commerce sponsored a free seminar on ID theft and fraud.

read story from the Olney Daily Mail

Developer Guilty of Mortgage Fraud
In the grandest mortgage fraud case ever tried in the U.S. Northern District of Georgia, Phillip Hill, a real estate developer and owner of Pinnacle Development Partners, was among the 10 individuals who were found guilty of a $41 million Ponzi scheme that used unsuspecting investors information to obtain loans for inflated-value properties that were never paid and left investors with the debt.

read story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

2 LOs Indicted for Fraud
Following Jill Lehn confessed she prepared fraudulent loan documents to flip properties that bilked lenders out of $3 million, and, indictments were given Tuesday to two LHS Mortgage Inc. loan officer employees who allegedly participated in the scheme, Ronald Joseph and Mario Lewis, who allegedly pocketed nearly $400,000 from the scheme.

read story from the Pioneer Press

Prison Sought for Developer
Prosecutors want Douglas Jemal, owner of Douglas Development Corp., to serve prison time because probation would be too soft for the developer, who is accused of using a phony invoice to get a $430,000 mortgage to buy a property different than the one covered by the loan.

read story from the Washington Post

Broker Accused of Mortgage Fraud
Mortgage broker Ronald Joseph is charged with devising scheme to conceal $2.5 million in payments to himself, real estate buyers and others through 40 mortgages that involved applications with overstated home sales prices and false settlement statements.

read story from the Star Tribune

Couple Arrested for False Liens
A husband and wife who failed to pay property taxes were arrested for filing false liens against employees of the Bank of Poynette, which was foreclosing on their property, and public officials involved in previous criminal cases of the couple, who claims the individuals owe them up to $2.1 million for unauthorized use of their names on documents.

read story from the Wisconsin State Journal

8 Accused of Fraudulent Flipping
Daniel J. Sattizhan, a co-owner and operator of Benchmark Mortgage and First Capital Investments, and Catherine L. Dike, an escrow officer, and six others have been charged with collaborating in a $14 million scheme that recruited "straw buyers" to obtain mortgages through fraudulent loan applications showing inflated sales prices and false repairs for properties.

read story from the Plano Courier Star

10 Guilty of Flipping Scheme
Robert Power was among the 10 people a jury found guilty of flipping over 300 residential properties with the assistance of fraudulent appraisers and loan officers who also were charged -- a scheme authorities said involved more than $41 million.

read story from Access North Georgia

March 14, 2007

Attorney Testifies on Home Sale
In a case involving Ronald Sollitto, who received a will signed by his elderly female neighbor that left Sollito with her estate and on the same day had a deed transfer of ownership, Thomas F.X. Foley, an attorney who prepared the contract of the sale, testified that he advised Sollitto to have the woman undergo a psychiatric exam prior to closing on the property.

read story from the Asbury Park Press

Appraiser Admits Fraud
Michael Meehan has surrendered his appraisal license and faces up to five years in prison after admitting he would include renovations on his appraisals as part of an alleged mortgage fraud and Ponzi scheme by NJ Affordable Homes, which involved falsified loan applications with photographs that were altered to show non-existent improvements.

read story from the Star-Ledger

SC Wants Originators Licensed
Within a potential bill for tougher regulations on mortgage fraud, South Carolina regulators seek for mortgage brokers and lenders to be licensed, as the lending industry is currently essentially unregulated in the state.

read story from The State

March 12, 2007

Mortgage Fraud Eventually Hurts Neighborhoods
Some loan originators encourage borrowers to lie on mortgage applications, a move that qualifies as mortgage fraud and eventually causes neighborhoods to pay high taxes when loans on homes with inflated sales prices end up in foreclosure.

read story from the Orlando Sentinel

Mortgage Broker Opts for Trial
Nelson Miller, sole proprietor of Freedom Financial, has decided to withdraw his guilty plea to have a federal jury decide whether he defrauded lenders through dozens of loans that were polished to look more creditworthy.

read story from the Arkansas Business

SC Seeks Fraud Prevention Law
The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs is seeking for the state to make a mortgage fraud prevention law after the state was named a "hot spot" for fraud by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

read story from The State

Trusting Increases Chances of Fraud
"Trust me" are two words a mortgage broker allegedly copiously used to defraud investors and should raise red flags for consumers to thoroughly read documents when signing a mortgage to avoid mortgage fraud, which has been on the rise -- the FBI handled 818 cases of mortgage fraud in 2006 or nearly double the amount three years earlier.

read story from The Californian

3 Sentenced for Fraud
Stacey L. Shefton and Michael D. Dunn were sentenced to prison and Willie J. Anderson was sentenced to five year of probation for causing losses of $316,000 to a lender by arranging for a loan to be made on a property that had already been sold.

read story from NBC Augusta

Ex-Lawyer Gets Prison Time
A five-year sentence was given to John M. Claydon, a former closing attorney, for defrauding People's Bank by converting, for his own use, over $1.2 million from checks he received for refinances on two loans rather than repaying the underlying loans.

read story from the Connecticut Post

SC Advises How to Avoid Fraud
South Carolina regulators have released a report on mortgage fraud and tips on how to avoid being duped in hopes that consumers can be more educated on the subject and make more informed decisions.

read story from WIS 10

RE Finance Industry Fights Fraud
Due to the growth in mortgage fraud, several real estate, escrow and mortgage firms are having fraud-savvy individuals speak to there employees and those of other firms on how to detect fraud and avoid fraudulent deals.

read story from the Arizona Republic

Ex-mortgage Employee Gets Sentence
Carl Wesley Ragland received a prison sentence of four years and nine months for defrauding his former employer, C&F Mortgage Co., out of $2.3 million by drawing checks against a corporate account and wire transfers to his personal accounts.

read story from the Daily Press

March 9, 2007

5 Indicted for Pre-foreclosure Scam
Accusations of running a pre-foreclosure scam that defrauded HUD from $1.9 million resulted in indictments for Trudy Peters, a former American Title Insurance Agency escrow officer; John Soto and Larry Smith, ex-Wells Fargo Home Mortgage loan officers; and Maria Felix and Tony Vasquez, respectively former housing counselors for ACORN Housing and Chicanos Por La Causa.

read story from The Arizona Republic

Title Co. Raided for Suspected Fraud
The Federal Bureau of Investigation carried out a search warrant for Alyeska Title, looking for financial documents that could trace possible mortgage fraud.

read story from KTVA 11

7 Indicted for Bogus Mortgages
An alleged $14 million scheme that used straw buyers to obtain purchase-money loans for amounts higher than homes were actually worth landed indictments for Donald L. Jones, Joseph B. Jackson, Donald Matthew Jones, Daniel J. Sattizahn, Catherine L. Dike, William Barnes, and Foday S. Fofanah.

read story from the Dallas Business Journal

Mortgage Cheaters Beware
Due to the pervasiveness and growth in mortgage fraud, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has set out to notify loan prospects and potential insider perpetrators of the fines and prison time that can result from cheating for mortgages.

read story from CNN Money

Judge Honors Mortgage Fraudster's Deal
Because Corey M. Hazel showed up to court the day of his sentencing, after admitting to charges that he led a scheme that bilked up to $2 million from mortgage lenders through inflated property appraisals and other false information, a judge honored the six-year sentence offer he had previously made to the man.

read story from The Columbus Dispatch

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

Email Patrick at: PatCrowl ey@FraudBlogger.com
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