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Archives June 19, 2005



July 17, 2005

The Patriot Ledger had a great lead in writing about a mortgage fraud case out of Boston involving the restoration of an historic home, saying the perp was convicted for giving the house "an illegal makeover."

A federal grand jury found Jamie Edelkind, 41, guilty of submitting a phony mortgage loan application to get a $3.3 million refi on the Honey Fitz mansion, a seaside resort that once served as a summer house for JFK's grandpa.

During a six-day trial it came out that Edelkind, who had filed for bankruptcy in 1999, filled out a mortgage application claiming his wife made more than $200,000 a year. He submitted the application when he bought the mansion for $900,000 in 2000.

Turns out the wife is just a homemaker and didn't make or have that kind of dough.

As the value of the house increased Edelkind refinanced it three times, going even deeper in debt, and took out three home equity loans for $730,000. Prosecutors say at least one of the equity loans was a fraud and Edelkind pocketed $221,000.

The government is trying to seize the house. Edelkind go up to prison for 30 years and pay $1 million in fines.

read story from The Patriot Ledger

read announcement from the Department of Justice

A globe-trotting New York man has admitted his role in a $3.1 million mortgage fraud scheme.

Sam Hilany, 35, has pleaded guilty to masterminding a fraud ring that used stolen IDs, inflated appraisals and straw buyers who were paid up to $15,000 to act as buyers to obtain fraudulently mortgages on nine properties, according to the Nassau County district attorney.

Washington Mutual Bank took the biggest hit, lending money on seven of the properties.

When the heat was coming down Hilany took off and spent four months on an overseas jaunt. According to the NY Times, the Department of Homeland Security picked up on his name on the manifest of a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt, Germany, to Mexico City.

But Mexican authorities met the flight and turned Hilany away, sending him back to German. From there he was returned to the states.

Several of his accomplices reported pleaded guilty earlier this year. All operated out of Long Island and Queens in the New York City Area. Most of the phony mortgages were for homes in Brooklyn.

read story from The New York Times

read announcement from Nassu County District Attorney

A husband and wife are going to jail for running a Denver-area mortgage fraud scheme that included greasing a banker with a bribe.

The Denver Business Journal is reporting that Thomas and Janel Marie Skinner, former loan originators and operators of Mile-Hi Lending LLC in Parker, Colo., have been convicted of federal mail and bank fraud.

He will do 15 months; she got a year and a day. The hubby must also pay more than $800,000 in restitution to Fairbanks Capital Corp. and U.S. Bank.

The Skinners' misdeeds included reportedly altering income statements and appraisals and bribing James Ezzard Gadson, a bank employee, to go along with their scheme. The federal judge handling the case gave Gadson three years probation.

read story at Denver Business Journal

July 12, 2005

Scam old and poor people and you deserve to get busted.

A judge in Chicago has ordered a home repair contractor who has also been accused of mortgage fraud to pay $203,000 to 56 elderly and low-income homeowners, according to the Chicago Tribune.

John Sullivan, owner of New Look Home Services, was fined for operating without permits. Last year he was reportedly banned from the home repair business in Chicago after the city received a court injunction against him. But he has continued to operate by operating under different company names.

The mortgage fraud comes in because Sullivan was accused of helping one of his victims -- who reportedly suffers from schizophrenia -- obtain a $104,000 mortgage to pay for home repairs. MDR Mortgage Corp. was named in a suit filed by the city against Sullivan.

Last year Sullivan paid $100,000 to settle claims of four elderly women, the paper reported. His lawyer wouldn’t comment on any of the cases.

read story from the Chicago Tribune

Authorities in Denver say they have broken a large scale mortgage fraud scheme that targeted illegal Hispanic immigrants and involved 33 homes and $6.5 million.

Ricardo Medina, 31, a Re/Max 100 real estate agent and two independent loan officers -- Nancy Rios, 39, and Perla Alvarado, 24 -- have been arrested and charged with using phony and forged information to get legitimate home loans from mortgage lenders, according to the Jefferson County Colo. District Attorney and a report in the Denver Post.

Without the ruse the buyers would not have qualified. Many of the homes went into default and buyers weren’t even required to come with down payments. The trio in custody made money on the loans, prosecutors allege.

According to the Denver Post all three lived “lavish lifestyles” and were making several hundred thousand dollars a year.

All of the loans were insured by HUD.

The scam began to fall apart when the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s Gaming Unit received complaints from a casino that forged documents have surfaced stating that homebuyers had worked for the casino.

Prosecutors said their investigation is not over, with more Realtors and loan offices alleged to have been in on the scheme.

read story from the Denver Post

read announcement from Jefferson County

In the 1990s Illinois businessman Gary Knox did jail time for bank and mail fraud.

Now it looks like he could be going back behind bars for mortgage fraud.

Knox, of Decatur, Ill., and appraiser Dennis Wiese Jr. of Belleville, Ill., are facing federal charges of bank, mail and wire fraud for running a fairly large scale property flipping ring, the Belleville News Democrat has reported.

Knox, 59, has pleaded innocent; Wiese has not yet been arraigned.

The two are accused in a federal indictment of running a property flipping scheme from 1999 to 2005 that totaled $8 million in sales. Prosecutors say Knox made $3 million while Wiese, who allegedly prepared false and inflated property appraisals, was paid $350 to $450 for each phony appraisal. He is accused of forging signatures on financing and purchase agreements, according to the published report.

State regulators are also after Knox for selling real estate without a license.

The paper also reported that two mortgage companies that approved loans for the scheme lost their licenses.

read story from the Belleville News-Democrat

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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