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Archives October 9, 2005

 


 
October 6, 2005


A California woman has been charged with selling a house she didn’t own.

Oralia Hidalgo of Colton, Ca., is accused of forging a signature on a deed, illegally taking title to a house and then selling the house for $125,000, according to SBSUN.com. She was arrested and reportedly charged with several felonies by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Real Estate Fraud Unit.

Hidalgo was reportedly jailed and held on a $125,000 bond.

read story from the San Bernardino County Sun


A Kansas City area mortgage broker is going to prison after being convicted, along with another man, for his role in an $18 million mortgage fraud ring.

Anthony Long operated a mortgage brokerage with his father, Carl Long, who has previously pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering charges. Carl Long will be sentenced on Nov. 7, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.

Anthony Long has also pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to three years and three months. Also pleading was Mitchell David Medlin. He got five years probation, six months in a halfway house and six months home incarceration.

Both were ordered to pay restitution of nearly $1.4 million, a federal prosecutor said.

In a statement U.S. Attorney Todd Graves said the ring used inflated appraisals, false rental fees, phony lease agreements, fabricated comparables and false statements on loan applications to run “a fraud scheme that involved 120 loans valued at nearly $18 million.”

read story from the Kasas City Business Journal

read announcement from U.S. Attorney


Federal prosecutors have received a plea from a member of an alleged major Massachusetts fraud ring that involved more than 100 homes.

Wilfred Changesie, 50, a native of Guyana, has pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud and money-laundering. In a story published on MassLive.com prosecutors describe Changesie as a “runner” who found properties and buyers that were used in the scheme. The buyers were allegedly duped into buying run-down homes for inflated prices.

Changesie allegedly once gave a mortgage broker a used Jag and 10 grand to push through a bogus application, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney William Welch.

All told 13 people were charged in the scheme, among them mortgage brokers, appraisers, real estate investors and a disbarred lawyer. Most have pleaded innocent.

Changesie could be deported if convicted, but prosecutors are dangling a deal – if he testifies against others he can stay and receive a lighter sentence.

read story from The Republican


October 5, 2005


A convicted felon who tried to escape the country has been sentenced to prison for running what a New York state prosecutor called "a large identity theft and mortgage fraud scheme" that totaled more than $3.1 million.

Sam Hilany, a.k.a. Nahum Hilany, 35, was sentenced to two to six years in prison, according to a statement from Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon.

Authorities tracked Hilany to Mexico and Germany before they finally caught up with him.

"This elaborate identity theft and mortgage fraud scheme involved stolen identities, paid 'straw borrowers', falsified employment, income and asset information, and false property appraisals," Dillon said. "In one incident, by erecting a street level façade at the site of a structure that had been destroyed by fire, the defendants were able to obtain a $324,000 mortgage on a building that was merely a burnt out shell."

Hilany must also pay $3.1 million in restitution.

read story from Long Island Press

read article at New York Times

read announcement from Nassau County District Attorney


Homecomings Financial, a California mortgage company, was allegedly duped by an Iowa real estate agent who was submitting bogus bills for the sale of foreclosed houses.

That's the charge reportedly coming out of a federal court case in Iowa, where Leonard Fazio of Re/Max A-1 Best Realtors is on trial for mail and wire fraud.

According to the Des Moines Register, federal prosecutors allege that Fazio, a veteran real estate agent, obtained more than $70,000 by submitting nine fake bills to Homecomings Financial between January 2002 and November 2003.

Fazio was reportedly turned in by his girlfriend, who was apparently aware of Fazio's alleged scheme.

An office manager who worked with Fazio testified in court that she was ordered to submit the fake bills.

Fazio's defense attorney was quoted in the paper saying his client did not break the law and that jurors would learn during the trial that Fazio's girlfriend is not a credible witness.

Fazio allegedly told Homecomings a property was worth $40,000. Using Fazio’s money his girlfriend reportedly bought the house for $48,000. Fazio then resold the house for $110,000.

read story from The Des Moines Register


October 4, 2005


An uptick in mortgage fraud cases may move Ohio to finally revamp its consumer protection laws to cover mortgage brokers.

Legislation has been filed in the Ohio General Assembly that if enacted would give the state attorney general the teeth to go after mortgage lenders "that engage in deceptive or unfair trade practices," The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting.

The bill would allow the attorney general to take action in cases involving property flipping and inflated appraisals.

Ohio is reportedly one of only two states with consumer laws that don't cover mortgage brokerages. Virginia is the other.

The feds have snared more than 24 people, including mortgage loan officers and brokers, in a two-year investigation that has centered on the Cincinnati area.x

read story from The Enquirer


October 3, 2005


Here's another case of thieves using stolen IDs to fraudulently obtain mortgages.

This is a federal case out of Boston, where a grand jury has returned an indictment against four people who allegedly used stolen identities to obtain $800,000 in mortgages, according to an announcement from federal prosecutors in Massachusetts.

Those charged were Charlotine Pierre, 26, Dotty Pierre, 25, Provilon Duverge, 29, and Frantzcia Pierre, 25.

Pierre also faces charges of obtaining financing to purchase a second home using a stolen ID.

If convicted the defendants face up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

read announcement from U.S. Attorney's office


A Georgia woman who reportedly stole a Florida woman's identity and then allegedly used it to steal $2.5 million has been found guilty of fraud.

Eva Patrick Verner, 67, faces up to 60 years in prison and fines of up to $20,000, according to the Florida Attorney General.

Verner, a.k.a. Eva Buckowski, allegedly obtained a Florida's driver's license using the name of a woman from Kissimmee. She then used that identity and some phony documents to secure two mortgages on the victim's property totaling $2.5 million, the Florida AG said in a statement.

The money was allegedly stashed in an offshore account in the Cayman accounts.

"This is a staggering tale of fraud and identity theft," Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist said in a statement. "Fortunately, Florida has a new identity theft law that provides stiff penalties for such egregious criminal activity."

Verner is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 3.

Crist said Florida's Office of Statewide Prosecution is working with the victim on helping her restore her credit rating.

read story from the Orlando Sentinel

read announcement from Georgia's Attorney General


A New Mexico man is facing criminal charges for allegedly selling the same mobile home to two different buyers.

Sam Brooks, 46, has been charged with fraud by the Cibola County Sheriff's office.

"We have two people claiming ownership," Sgt. Harry Hall reportedly told the Cibola County Beacon.

Police began investigating after a woman who reportedly had paid Brooks $3,224 for the mobile home was being told to leave the home by a man who claimed he had bought the home and paid $1,300 toward the purchase.

According to the paper the woman signed a real estate contract with Brooks on March 18. The man reportedly signed a warranty deed with Brooks on July 26. The woman was allegedly making payments to Brooks while in was jail on drug charges.

"I would recommend that if anyone is going to buy property from someone, let a title company make sure it's clean," Cibola County Chief Deputy Assessor Pauline A. Chavez reportedly told the paper.

read story at the Cibola County Beacon


September 30, 2005


An uptick in mortgage fraud cases may move Ohio to finally revamp its consumer protection laws to cover mortgage brokers.

Legislation has been filed in the Ohio General Assembly that if enacted would give the state attorney general the teeth to go after mortgage lenders "that engage in deceptive or unfair trade practices," The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting.

The bill would allow the attorney general to take action in cases involving property flipping and inflated appraisals.

Ohio is reportedly one of only two states with consumer laws that don’t cover mortgage brokerages. Virginia is the other.

The feds have snared more than 24 people, including mortgage loan officers and brokers, in a two-year investigation that has centered on The Cincinnati area.

read story from the Cincinnati Enquirer


The operator of a Missouri mortgage firm has been arrested on federal charges of running a fraud scheme using standby letters of credit.

The charges were filed against Daryl Brown, 28, chairman of The Vertical Group, a firm that operates in home mortgages, insurance, securities and real estate investments, according to the Columbia Missourian.

Brown stands accused of raising money through standby letter of credit, which are often used in fraud schemes to attract investors with often unrealistic promises of huge double digit returns.

U.S. Attorney Todd Graves said in a statement that Graves was allegedly luring investors to give money in $50,000 increments and promising them 20 percent return in just 30 days.

Graves said Brown raised $3.1 million but only invested $220,000.

"The balance of the investors funds have been spent by Brown or at his direction and has not generated any return on the investment," Graves said.

Brown made "significant misrepresentations" to investors, Graves said, including telling people he was a former pro football player, that he had relationships with celebrities and that he has access to a $5 billion investment pool.

read story from the Missourian

 
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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