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Last Updated Friday, October 31, 2008 10:00 PM Texas Time

October 31, 2008

Honest Success or Systematic Fraud?
The key defendant in one of the largest mortgage fraud investigations in Las Vegas has quite a background. From high school dropout to making the National Association of Realtors’ “30 Under 30” list, she must now defend actions that resulted in being named with her boyfriend in a 13-count indictment.

Appraiser Gives Reporters Heads Up
Richard Hagar of American Appraisals in Washington recently provided some insight into mortgage fraud schemes for journalists in the Western states. Among them were the late-night real estate gurus touting their success, yet have no licenses or degrees and manipulate people into fraudulent mortgage deals; illegal kickback schemes; and flipping schemes, even those televised on a once popular cable show Flip That House.

October 30, 2008

Suburban Straw-Buyer Scheme Busted
Seventeen people, including a real estate agent, two loan officers and 14 straw buyers were named in a 34-count indictment. The scheme involved 25 residential properties in an affluent suburban area of Missouri.

Councilman Questioned of Occupancy Fraud
A California city councilman up for re-election has been questioned by his local newspaper about a house he purchased as a principal residence that has not been occupied.

October 29, 2008

Consumer Fraud Prevention Tool
BasePoint Analytics announced the release of a software solution that can evaluate a consumer’s risk for identity theft. Their Identity Theft Risk Assessment survey provides a risk score based on the consumer’s answers to 10 questions.

‘Shotgun’ Fraudsters Beware
A new fraud prevention solution detects multi-liens on properties before closing. Known as ‘shotgun’ fraud, a con artist tries to close on one property with more than one lender at a time.

Double Trouble in New York City
Mortgage fraud has nearly doubled in New York City according to the city’s “suspicious activity reports” (SAR). In 2007, there were 2,476 mortgage fraud cases compared to 1,327 just a year before. Statewide New York had 2,738 cases. In comparison, California had the most cases, more than 18,000.

Haitian Militant Sentenced
A former Haitian paramilitary leader and accused murderer, found guilty of grand larceny and mortgage fraud, has been sentenced 12 years and four months to 37 years in prison.

National Crisis Needs More Help
Three reps in Congress have requested that the FBI and the Justice Department ramp up their efforts of investigation into the link between mortgage fraud and the current mortgage market debacle.

RE Agent Sentenced Over 24 Years
A real estate agent who led a mortgage fraud scheme for two years has been sentenced to more than 24 years in prison after a two-day trial. The agent participated in falsifying loan application data in order to obtain financing on numerous homes.

October 28, 2008

Mortgage Rules and Regulations
Mortgage brokers and lenders will have more time to comply with a new Red Flags Rule designed to reduce mortgage fraud, though a number of services have emerged to help ensure compliance. Two companies are touting technology that helps wholesale and retail lenders comply with requirements under a new appraisal ordering code.

Over 30 RE Agents Penalized
A $45 million mortgage fraud scheme in Colorado has been busted but not before resulting in 88 foreclosures and $8 million in kickbacks to buyers and brokers. About three dozen real estate agents have either had their license revoked, been fined and suspended or ordered to receive further education.

Foreclosure and Fraud Rates Climb in Utah
Foreclosure fraud in Utah has doubled and officials are warning homeowners to be on the lookout for foreclosure rescue scams.

Mother and Son Sentencing
A prominent Realtor’s son was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for his part in a $3.5 million mortgage fraud scheme. He’s also been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and drug education and treatment.

Mortgage Fraud Takes FBI Front Seat
In light of the current mortgage fraud debacle, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is planning to expand its efforts into the investigation of mortgage fraud and white collar crimes.

Waiting on Restitution Numbers
Sentencing for a Pennsylvania man has been delayed as his defense attorney waits to receive pre-sentencing information, including a total for restitution to the man’s victims.

Landlord in Trouble Again
A man accused of running a fraudulent foreclosure rescue scheme and soliciting a tenant for sex has now been charged with criminal mischief and theft. He was caught on videotape allegedly arranging the letters of a probation officer’s name on a sign to spell out a vulgarity.

Three Charged in Mortgage Loan Renegotiation Scheme
One of three people charged in a scheme that led homeowners to believe their mortgage payments would be decreased if they paid a fee upfront has agreed to testify against the two others.

October 27, 2008

Mortgage Fraud Falls
Quarterly mortgage fraud activity dropped. Some of the states with the most fraud activity were also the states with the most foreclosures.

Fraud Convict Sentenced on Tax Evasion
An Ohio man recently convicted of mortgage fraud has been sentenced to six months in prison for failing to pay income taxes for the years 2001 and 2002. In the meantime, he faces up to 10 years on the mortgage fraud conviction.

Hunt Still On for Con Man
A 27-year-old man reportedly used intimidation to encourage homebuyers to complete transactions he arranged, even though the terms had changed. He is wanted for various mortgage fraud crimes and has been on the run since August.

Pastor and Wife Still Under Investigation
A South Florida pastor and radio celebrity, and his wife are still being held in a county jail as the investigation into their participation in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme continues to grow.

Tricky Fraud Scheme
Eight people and six companies have been indicted in a $3 million mortgage fraud scheme involving seven properties in Ohio.

Developer and LO Charged
A 39-year-old developer, his employee and a loan officer have been indicted in an alleged $4 million mortgage fraud scheme that involved flipping dilapidated houses in New Jersey to unqualified borrowers.

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