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Last Updated Friday, May 30, 2008 10:00 PM Texas Time

May 30, 2008

Banks Lose $3 Million, Pennsylvania Man Gets 41 Months in Prison
Scott Winovich, 43, purchased hundreds of rental properties, inflated the appraisals and defrauded various lenders out of $14 million from 1994 through 2003. He was recently sentenced to 41 months in prison followed by three years supervised release.

More Details in Houston Area Townhouse Fraud
A fraud scheme involving five properties in Houston and $9 million has resulted in the indictment of nine people: Carlin Joubert, 53; Kelton Lyons, 29; Michael Nunnerly, 30; Chi Van Nguyen, 29; Trevor Cherry, 34; Craig Curtis, 35, Dedrick Johnson, 38, Tiffany Narcisse, 30; and Viktor Thai Ly, 29, have been charged each with one count of conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Additional counts have been charged against various members of the group.

31 Charged, 15 Guilty Pleas in South Florida Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme
Juan and Rachael Torrens are the latest to plead guild to conspiracy charges in a $15 million fraud scheme that has cost lenders at least $5 million. Juan is the owner of Amsouth Trust & Investment Corp. and president of Countryside Land & Development. His wife is the president of 1st Choice Realty of South Florida and owner of First United Mortgage USA Corp. The scheme involved 28 properties in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Marco Island.

Others awaiting sentencing in connection with this case include Daniel Ramos, Roger Rosario and Alonso A. Muxo.

Five Indicted for Mortgage fraud in Honolulu
John Gilbert Mendoza, Antonio Alcantara Jr., Ira Altwegg, Albert A. Alimoot Jr. and Evan M. Koizumi have been named in a fraud scheme that cost lenders at least $400,000 on multiple properties. They have all been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and making false statements loan applications.
Read story at Honolulu Advertiser

Mortgage Broker Accused of Coercing Borrowers to Lie on Applications
Kelli Wilson, owner of Plainfield, Ill.-based Investors Choice Mortgage Corp. has been charged with two counts of financial institutional fraud and one count each of loan fraud, forgery and mail fraud. Investors Choice Mortgage has had its license revoked and was fined $20,000. Arraignment for Wilson is scheduled for June 30.
Read story at Chicago Tribune

St. Joseph’s Financial Mortgage Broker Pleads Guilty of Fraud
Johnny Phong Nguyen, of Wayzata, Minn. made about $500,000 off of an $8 million scheme involving 14 real estate transactions. If convicted of both mail fraud and the money laundering counts, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
Read story at MyFox Twin Cities

May 29, 2008

Nine Indicted for Mortgage Fraud in Houston
Six of nine people accused of mortgage fraud involving several properties in Houston have been arrested. The group conspired to produce false identification and wire fraud to obtain $9 million in mortgages.
Read story at KHOU.com

Former Prosecutor and Convict Pleads Guilty
Joseph J. Scafidi should have known better, having been a prosecutor and with a prior conviction for fraud but, oops, he did it again. Scafidi has pleaded guilty to charges of theft and forgery for stealing mortgage payments, fabricating a court order and writing bad checks. A maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine is possible for each charge.
Read story at The Intelligencer

Former Mortgage Brokerage Owner Sentenced to 70 Months
Edward A. Septon, 59, of Naples, Fla., head of a now defunct Twin Cities mortgage brokerage pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of bank fraud that cost Washington Mutual Bank $1.33 million and Associated Bank almost $400,000. Septon was sentenced to 70 months in prison followed by five years supervised release.

Four others who played a role in the fraud were loan officer Christopher A. Horton who was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release along with Sean B. Leaf, sentenced 18 months in prison and three years probation; Jodilee M. Lindberg, sentenced to four years probation and eight months of community confinement with work release; Micah D. Thormodsgaard who received three years probation; and Edward Septon’s son, Christopher E. Septon, who has not yet been sentenced. All defendants have pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy.
Read story at TwinCities.com

May 28, 2008

Mississippi Father and Daughter Swindle $8.5 Million
Mark Calhoun and his daughter April Calhoun have been named in a 25-count indictment. Mark Calhoun was a mortgage broker for Professional Mortgage Consultants Corporation and owner of New World Mortgage d/b/a Silver Cross Financial Group, LLC, where his daughter also worked.

Both played a role in obtaining fraudulent loans for about 40 borrowers in the $8.5 million scheme, according to the indictment. Mr. Calhoun has been charged with 12 counts of wire fraud, and both are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and eight counts money laundering offenses with an additional four counts for Mr. Calhoun.

Mobile, Ala. Woman Sentenced to 7 ½ Years
Darlene Hill defrauded six mortgage companies out of about $8 million on 34 properties in the Mobile area. Hill was sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison and ordered to pay back $7,790,695 to the mortgage companies and Title Assurance Co. of Mobile.
Read story at Press-Register

May 27, 2008

Automatic Submission Saves Paper, Shipping Costs
FraudMit has added a web-based submission to its traditional methods using a secure FTP protocol.

Mortgage Fraud Stats
The Federal Bureau of Investigation touted more than $0.5 billion in mortgage fraud restitutions last year. In its Financial Crimes Report the Public for Fiscal Year 2007, the FBI reported 1,204 mortgage fraud cases were pending as of Sept. 30, 2007, climbing from 818 cases at fiscal yearend 2006. Those cases resulted in 321 indictments, the FBI said. Of those indicted, 260 ended up with convictions.
Read story at MortgageDaily.com

Massachusetts Adopts Law to Prosecute Residential Mortgage Fraud
Claiming false statements on mortgage contracts could now cost violators up to five years in prison and $100,000 in fines for Mass. residents.
Read story at Wicked Local Tewksbury

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