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Last Updated Friday, June 8, 2007, 04:49 PM Texas Time

June 8, 2007

Lenders Blamed for Appraisal Fraud
Three states are going after mortgage companies and originators who they claim are responsible for fraud by residential real estate appraisers.

read story from MortgageDaily.com

Last of ID Theft Ring Arrested
Authorities arrested Larissa Ballow and seized he mobile office and stolen identification cards and equipment used to make them, while erlier this year they arrested Michael Hartsell who allegedly used his company, First Choice Mortgage, to steal the identities of over 100 victims.

read story from NBC San Diego

Two in Fraud Case Sentenced
Taiwan Lee received a 30-month sentence for serving as a straw buyer in a scam that purchased homes at inflated prices and generated $2.1 million in excess loan proceeds, while Talita James will serve 27 months for purchasing two of the homes in one day and committing a crime while on probation.

read story from Denver Post

Scammers Duplicate Mortgage Lender Site
First Hawaiian Bank mortgage loan officers and other employees gave personal financial information on a Web page they later found out was created by scam artists.

read story from KGMB 9

Man Admits Duping Investors
John K. Sanders Jr., who ran a shell company called RKJ Corp., admitted he pocketed funds from checks investors wrote for a mortgage investment opportunity that turned out to be a sham.

read story from Daily Record

Fraud's Widespread Effects
Fraud escalated 30 percent in a year's period, and with other fraud cases coming to surface, lenders and neighborhoods will continue suffering the consequences.

read story from American Public Media

June 7, 2007

CO Broker Regulation Toughens
Colorado hopes to stop fraud through a new law that requires mortgage brokers to be licensed.

read story from 9 News

Mortgage Employee Fired for Anti-fraud?
CU Mortgage Direct allegedly fired Becky Gruhlke because of differences with the chief operating officer, but she is accusing the company of wrongly terminating her for consistently refusing to sign off on fraudulent mortgage documents.

read story from the Argus Leader

Ex-Broker Gets 12 Years
Owner of brokerage Phoenix Funding Inc., Mark D. Musselman, received a 12-year prison sentence for submitting fraudulent applications, some with identities of deceased people, to obtain loans from ABN AMRO Mortgage Co.

read story from the Dayton Daily News

Woman Faces 30 for Phony 1003
Sherry Freebery, a former county chief administrator, faces up to 30 years in prison after admitting to submitting a fraudulent application for a refinance mortgage in which she failed to disclose she had singed a promissory note for a $2.3 million loan intended to be a gift.

read story from The Daily Times

Broker to Admit ID, Mortgage Fraud
James J. Lytle is expected to enter a guilty plea for allegedly brokering home loans obtained through stolen identities and straw buyers.

read story from the GazetteXtra

June 4, 2007

Woman Faces 30 Years
While ex-husband, Christopher Nickelson, was sentenced to 15 years for his role in "equity skimming," Synthia Ippolito now faces sentencing of up to 30 years after jurors rejected her defense argument that she was a victim of domestic violence and forced into doing fraudulent transactions.

read story from the St. Petersburg Times

Arrest Possibly Tied to Mortgage Co.
Melissa Balo is being held on suspicion that she participated in a mortgage scam that could be tied to one in which Michael Hartsell's company, First Choice Mortgage, was used to invade the databases of three major credit agencies.

read story from News 8

CO Laws Against Mortgage Fraud
The governor of Colorado signed 14 bills, including some designed to deter mortgage fraud.

read story from The Denver Channel

read archived blog entries

  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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