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Last Updated Friday, May 23, 2008 7:00 PM Texas Time

May 23, 2008

Girlfriend Confesses Forgery in Mortgage Fraud Case
Ana P. Monteiro, 30, girlfriend of Aaron R. Dare, has been charged with grand larceny for forging documents on a $100,000 mortgage loan. Officials are investigating dozens of property transactions that involve Dare, who recently pleaded guilty to a felony forgery charge related to a real estate fraud case. Dare faces up to 51 months in federal prison on one charge and up to 27 years for three other felonies, including mail fraud.

Dare is on house arrest; the judge agreed to release him on bond because he reportedly has a severe heart condition and is awaiting a transplant.
Read story at Times Union

Four “Underlings” Plead Not Guilty
Four of the 11 recently indicted in Boston for mortgage fraud and identity theft are pointing fingers at the two attorneys involved who they say are the organizers of the scheme. Ralph Appolon, Widner LaMarre, Jean Noriscat and Jermaine Blake face charges of conspiracy and wire fraud involving 21 properties and $10.6 million in mortgage loans. Ernst Appolon, another alleged organizer in the scheme has also pleaded not guilty.
Read story at The Boston Herald

May 22, 2008

Two More Sentenced in Kansas City ID Theft
Carlton Strother, 40, of Kansas City, Mo. and Chandra L. Jenkins 29, of Plano, Texas have been sentenced to 19 years, six months and two years, one month respectively, in federal prison with no chance of parole. Strother and Jenkins were players in a fraud scheme that included 116 victims, 33 of which were retail businesses and resulted in $400,000 losses.

Four Cry Foul Play in 11-Player Indictment
Four of the 11 indicted in a $10.6 million mortgage fraud scheme say they are being unfairly held while the kingpins of the ring are roaming free. Attorneys Eric L. Levine and J. Daniel Lindley were released on $200,000 bail, each charged with 41 counts of wire fraud, if convicted they face up to 20 years in prison. Four others are being held due to “flight risk.”
Read story at The Boston Herald

Indiana Police Officer Resigns Amid Fraud Scandal
Sgt. Robert Culp pleaded guilty to his role in a straw buyer mortgage scam that involved at least 190 homes.
Read story at South Bend Tribune

May 21, 2008

11 Indicted in Big Apple $14 Million Straw Buyer Scheme
Attorneys Frantz Metellus and Robert B. Davis along with Realtor Venecia Desilva, Vijay Anand Khemraj, Robert Rodriguez, David Burks, Eric Whiteside, Simon Clark, Harlem Guzman, and mortgage brokers David Cho and Mark Matthews are charged with conspiracy. The attorneys, brokers and organizer Khemraj are also charged with wire and bank fraud involving multiple properties and 24 mortgages.

If convicted of wire fraud or conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the defendant’s face up to 20 years maximum. The maximum term for any defendant convicted of bank fraud or conspiracy to commit is 30 years.

Two Sentenced in ID Theft of 116 Victims
Tarik I. Liwaru, 34, of Kansas City, Kan. and Michelle Rene Williams, 40, of Kansas City, Mo. used stolen identity information to swindle more than $400,000. Liwaru was sentenced to the maximum penalty of five years in federal prison without parole and ordered to pay $160,272 in restitution. Williams was sentenced to 30 months without parole and $114,283 in restitution.

Interthinx Software Detects Undisclosed Property Ownership
FraudGUARD, Interthinx’s new fraud prevention software module can search and identify additional properties a borrower owns – helping mitigate losses from those trying to defraud a lender by lying on their application.

DataVerify Expands Fraud Prevention Tools
Users of MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.) can now integrate DataVerify’s DRIVE solution for an additional “touchless” verification process.

Florida City Ranks Eighth in Nation for Mortgage Fraud
Fort Myers has been hit hard with foreclosures due to the high incidence of mortgage fraud.
Read story at WINK News

Indiana Police Officer Had Help in Real Estate Scam
Robert Culp allegedly paid Linda Riffle and William Depalma a finder’s fee to solicit straw buyers in order to obtain mortgage loans from Wells Fargo Bank and other lenders. Additional charges are expected.
Read story at WNDU.com

Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme Uncovered in Houston
One family lost everything to a refinance scheme that is unraveling as more victims are discovered.
Read story at My Fox Houston

May 20, 2008

Mortgage Fraud Investigation Leads to Drug House Raid
Investigators searching a home in St. Lucie County, Fla. for evidence of mortgage fraud found 75 marijuana plants. Daniel H. Padron, 30, is now facing five felony charges in relating to running a marijuana grow house.
Read story at TCPalm

May 19, 2008

Two Convicted in Federal Housing Fraud
Two Mass. residents swindled more than $33,000 in government housing benefits. Lael Williams, 55, and Jamie Ayers, 46, were found guilty of making false statements in order to receive the benefits on two homes in Massachusetts. They each face up to 10 years in prison with three years supervised release and fines up to $250,000.

16 Indicted for “Foreclosure Refinancing” Fraud Scheme
Charles Head, an alleged ringleader and his brother Jeremy Michael Head, 30, along with 14 others have been indicted on 13-counts of mail fraud, money laundering and other related offenses. More than 300 victims and 150 homes were involved in the scheme that resulted in $6.7 million worth of fraud in California and 18 other states.
Read story at The Daily Breeze

Indiana Police Officer Pleads Guilty
South Bend police officer, Robert Culp, pleaded guilty and subsequently was suspended from the force. Culp's scheme cost lenders hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Read story at The Republic

Former Prosecutor and Convict Charged with Fraud
Joseph James Scafidi, 53, has a history of ripping people off; he was convicted in 1997 for theft by deception and receiving stolen property. Scafidi, a mortgage lender for Bucks County Mortgage in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., is now accused of stealing more than $34,000 from homeowners.
Read story at Bucks County Times Courier

Michigan Brothers Sentenced After Guilty Plea
Hani Mortada, 29, has been sentenced to 20 months in prison with five years court supervision thereafter and was ordered to pay $648,750 in restitution. His brother Wael Mortada, 28, was sentenced to 300 hours of community service, three years under court supervision with the first six months in a community corrections center and to pay restitution of $82,800.

A total of 10 defendants were convicted in this case. Safi Sobh, 35, owner of The Success Group, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Sobh and the brothers were part of a ring that bilked Ohio Savings Bank, Commercial Federal Bank and several others out of millions of dollars.
Read story at Crain's Detroit

Indiana Police Officer Accused of Fraud
Robert Culp, 43, a South Bend police officer has been charged with bank fraud since purchasing 190 houses from 2003 through 2007. Culp faced up to 30 years in prison before entering a plea bargain with the Feds.
Read story at WNDU.com

19 Corporations Under FBI Scrutiny
Over 200 FBI agents and 33 task forces are working on more than 1,300 mortgage fraud cases – 19 large companies included.
Read story at Reuters

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