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Last Updated Friday, September 21, 2007, 5:00 PM Texas Time
photo of Coco Salazar

September 21, 2007

Mortgage Fraud Worsening
NEW YORK and Providence, R.I. -- A shrinking mortgage origination sector has only intensified the presence of mortgage fraud, according to panelists at a securities conference this week. One new scheme has emerged where individual mortgage loans are being sold to more than one investor. The meeting produced predictions that 2007 vintage loans will suffer the same performance problems as those created in 2006.

Biggest Fraud Case In Atlanta's History Goes To Trial
A $41 million mortgage fraud scam that was led by Phillip E. Hill, and involved flipping more than 50 homes and 250 metro area condominiums has ended in a trial verdict that puts Hill behind bars for 28 years.

read story from The Atlanta Business Journal

Loop Hole in Lending Laws Allow Accused To Continue Working
Joseph Gallo and Jim Martin admit to wrong doings in their mortgage lending practices, and they are also aware they are under investigation by the FBI and IRS and have had their licenses revoked, however, both continue to operate their lending activities due to a loop hole that allows them to work under the license of someone else.

read story from My58.com

Mortgage Company Owner To Be Sentenced
Tiffany L. Sprouts, who started Sprouts Mortgage LLC, will be sentenced by the end of the year for admitting to falsifying loan documents, including appraisals, work histories, and tax returns, in order to obtain mortgages on at least six properties.

read story from The Post Gazette

Report Worries Local Markets
The Mortgage Asset Research Institute, part of the Mortgage Brokers Association, has released a report that focuses on the growing numbers of fraud cases nationally. In addition, it has also released a ranking of local markets risk of potential mortgage scams.

read story from EnidNews.com

Mom Sells Name To Fraud Ring
A stay at home mom, Melissa D. Smith, had other activities other then being a homemaker. She has admitted to her roll in a massive fraud scam that includes nearly $50 million in lender losses, by letting a home building company use her name to acquire loans.

read story from The Star Tribune

Straw Buyers Watch Fraud Ring Collapse
The participants in a scam headed by James F. Stovall III, an attorney for Reti Relocation Services Inc, watched as he plead guilty to his involvement in the flipping of nearly 50 properties and other illegal loan activities.

read story from The Atlanta Business Journal

September 20, 2007

3 Charged In Flipping Scam
Scott R. Rosenlund, Celeste Skaar, and Shinon Lindberg have been charged with racketeering and theft for their involvement in a scam where they recruited straw buyers and flipped properties causing losses with three separate mortgage loan lenders.

read story from The Star Tribune

Leasing Scheme Forced Properties Into Foreclosure
Eric Heckler has been arrested for his role in a scam where hopeful homeowners were leased properties to repair their credit scores and then offered the option to buy the properties at the end of a twelve month period. The only problem is that the leasing company kept the rent for themselves, did not make the mortgage payments, sending the homes into foreclosure.

read story from NBC 2

State Attorney Cracks Down On Fraud
The Illinois State Attorney General's office is targeting mortgage lenders with bad reputations for involvement in fraudulent activities, having already revoked the license of one company, and is in the process of suing another.

read story from WBBM 780

September 19, 2007

Executive Joins Economic Crime Council
Joel Bartow, Director of Fraud Prevention and Investigations for Sitel, a leading outsourcing provider that services the mortgage industry, has been appointed to the Economic Crime Council of ASIS International.

Protecting Personal Information Topic of Meeting
The FTC met with the Maryland Task Force on Identity Theft to reinforce the importance of federal, state, and local governments to work with the private business sector to prevent identity theft.

Company That Promises To Save Homes Investigated For Fraud
Michael Thomas Stoller, owner of Mortgage Assistance Solutions, says his company is not a fraud, however, the State of Florida may decide otherwise after they investigate allegations made by homeowners, this just days after the state shut down a similar company with a very similar name.

read story from FOX 13

September 18, 2007

Upgrade Made To Risk Mitigation System
Interthinx Inc, a leader in fraud prevention products for the mortgage industry, has integrated a new tool into it's FraudGUARD system that will reduce transaction processing time.

Curious Neighbor Uncovers Mortgage Fraud
After noticing some unusual behavior from the people buying the homes in her neighborhood, Ann Fulmer began to investigate, and uncovered an illegal home flipping scam. Working with the FBI, she has been able to finger more than 300 people involved in the scheme.

read story from CNN.com

Arizona Legislature Makes Mortgage Fraud A Felony
Lawmakers have passed a new law making mortgage fraud a felony in efforts to reduce cash-back deals in Arizona which have been on the increase in that state during the recent market troubles.

read story from The Tucson Citizen

County Officials Offer Tips On Avoiding Fraud
Two officials with the Orange County Department of Consumer Affairs, Charles Mitchell and Edward Diana, have offered their top tips to home buyers on the best practices when it comes to recognizing red flags and steering clear from becoming the victims of predatory individuals looking to take advantage of them.

read story from Mid Hudson News

State Passes New Regulations For Mortgage Brokers
After passing new mortgage regulations, Colorado is changing it's reputation of being the most lenient state for mortgage lending, to having one of the most stringent in order to reduce the number of fraud cases and crack down on violations, starting with mortgage brokers being required to obtain licenses starting next year.

read story from The Rocky Mountain News

10 States File Grievance Against Mortgage Operation
After failing to obtain licenses for his business, Apex Mortgage, or himself, Frederick C. Lee, Jr. is facing action from several states for not complying with their regulations. Lee claims not to be facilitating mortgage loans, but is collecting fees and brokering loans according to documents.

read story from Pantagraph.com

Coco Salazar is an associate editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.

e-mail: MortgageWriter@aol.com

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