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Last Updated Friday, November 30, 2007, 5:00 PM Texas Time
photo of Coco Salazar

November 30, 2007

More Ratings Scrutiny of Underwriting, Fraud
Mortgage fraud and sloppy underwriting on a sample of loans analyzed by one ratings agency led to an overhaul of its process for rating residential transactions. The agency will look more closely at origination and acquisition practices. Meanwhile, no end appears in sight for downgrades on subprime deals, while ratings activity continued to be mostly positive on commercial transactions. (Nov. 30)
read story from MortgageDaily.com

Lack Of Funds Hamper Arizona Fraud Investigations
Arizona's Department of Financial Institutions is struggling to dig through and investigate a mountain of mortgage fraud claims, but being under staffed and under funded is keeping investigators over worked and unable to resolve cases in a timely manner.
read story from AZCentral.com

Minnesota Mortgage Firm Might Be Fraud Hub
Universal Mortgage, and several of it's employees are being investigated for a spike in straw buyer schemes in the area. One of those straw buyers is cooperating with county officials and in a written affidavit claims that she was recruited by the firm to purchase ten of the twenty-five properties suspected of being involved in the fraud.
read story from The Star Tribune

Fraud Experts Say FTC Report Flawed
Consumer advocacy groups are questioning the accuracy of a recent report released by the Federal Trade Commission which states that identity theft is not the growing trend that is widely believed to be. Several firms point to their own research which reveals that the threat to consumers and lenders is bigger than ever.
read story from IWON.com

How To Protect Your Home From Mortgage Scams
Although it's next to impossible to guarantee you are one-hundred percent safe from exposure from mortgage fraud, there are ways to recognize the red flags and limit your losses if you suspect you are the next victim.
read story from WTVM

November 29, 2007

Bad News Festers In Michigan Market
Laura Berman, a writer for The Detroit News, takes a closer look at Michigan's mortgage fraud problems and probes into the climate and the failed prevention system that allowed it to get as bad as it is.
read story from The Detroit News

Cox Behind Locks
Sentencing for Matthew Bevan Cox took place in a Nashville court, where he received 26 years behind bars. Earlier in the month he was convicted in an Atlanta federal court for related charges stemming from a massive mortgage fraud that involved hundreds of victims from homeowners to lenders across several states.
read story from The Winston-Salem Journal

Accomplice Pleads Guilty In Mortgage Scam Trial
Teresa M. Flood pleaded guilty to her involvement in a mortgage fraud trial that her boyfriend, Glenny Coleman III had admitted to earlier. The Delaware jury disregarded his testimony that suggested Flood had no idea about the scam.
read story from Delaware Online

November 28, 2007

Mega Banks Sue Mortgage Company For $19 Million
Aaron Wider, Chief Executive of HTFC Corporation, is disputing claims made by GMAC and RFC that his company sold them millions of dollars in fraudulent loans with faulty appraisals and inflated prices. The lawsuit filed by the two banks seeks a total of $19 million, an amount Wider says is only an attempt to gain liquidity for the ailing lenders.

Buyer From Beyond The Grave Reveals Scheme
When Marleen Manragh's name appeared on a loan application for a home in Queens along with the required identification information, everything seemed to be in order... except for one detail, Marleen was dead. A mortgage flipping scam was revealed shortly after the home sold for $85,000 more than what it was worth, and Seerojnie Mohan, Carolyn Dixon, Doodnath Siewsanker, and Ramesh Hardial were arrested for orchestrating the fraud.
read story from The Greenwich Time

Michigan's Fraud Woes Worsen
Murderers, drug traffickers... mortgage brokers? Michigan's booming predatory lending and mortgage fraud problems are seemingly a result of it's lax regulations, which are attracting hard core criminals to drop their weapons and drugs and pick up loan documents and pens for a chance to shank their neighbors out of millions of dollars across the state.
read story from The Detroit News

Two Ohio Residents Sentenced For Fraud
A Cleveland builder and developer, Edward Emery, and co-conspirator, Eloise Anderson, have been sentenced for a $15 million mortgage fraud charge that involved 38 homes, 27 of which now sit vacant and in foreclosure.
read story from WKYC

FBI Investigation Targets TJ Waconia Owners
The FBI has named Jonathan E. Helgason and Thomas J. Balko, co-owners of TJ Waconia of Roseville, as the target of their investigation into a Ponzi Scheme that may turn out to be one of the biggest ever to hit Minnesota's Twin Cities area.
read story from The Star Tribune

November 27, 2007

FTC Reports Massive ID Theft Statistics
A survey released by the Federal Trade Commission shows the full reach of identity theft in society. Figures very on types and amounts, but one thing is clearly derived from the information... No one is immune to this growing type of crime.

American Funding And Investment Corp. Operator Sentenced
Robert Frank Miller was found guilty by a Federal jury in Washington D.C. for coaxing investors out of $400,000 in a complicated mortgage financing scam which used the company he operated as a screen to hide his illegal activities.

4 Convicted In Atlanta For Straw Buyer Scam
In a multimillion dollar mortgage fraud case, Eric Friedman, Michael Hipe, Brianne Friedman, and Timothy Bauer have been given separate sentences and orders to pay restitution for causing huge losses to lenders and investors.

States Lap Congress In ID Theft Legislation
A recent study by Aite Group shows that local state governments are far surpassing the U.S. Congress in efforts to prevent and prosecute instances of identity theft.
read story from Wall Street & Technology

California Real Estate Office Closed For Subprime Scam
Alejandro and Emilio Lopez, owners of a Century 21 branch office in San Marcos, along with Ravinderjit Sekhon and Linda Velasquez have been charged with a $1 million mortgage fraud that focused on securing loans for consumers who did not meet lenders financial standards.
read story from Voice Of San Diego

Missouri Man Pleads Guilty In Kansas Court
Leslie Saunders II, faces 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines for a $2.5 million mortgage scam he pleaded guilty to in a Kansas City court room.
read story from CJ Online

November 26, 2007

Drug Dealers Use Loose Lending Practices To Get "Green"
Poorly researched or falsified loan documents in and around the Seattle area may be the source of a growing number of "pot houses". Drug dealers have found brokers with questionable morals a way to obtain mortgages on several properties at a time without having to provide documentation of income, and then turn the homes into marijuana greenhouses.
read story from National Public Radio

ID Thieves Targeting Children
In a report issued by the Identity Theft Resource Center, they warn of an increasing trend where children are targeted and victimized by ID thieves, who often turn out to be their own relatives.
read story from The Detroit News

Anonymous Whistle Blower Cries Fraud
No one is sure who sent it, but in a letter that arrived at Re/Max headquarters, a Florida realtor organization, and to several real estate agents, Lori Polin, herself an agent for Re/Max, has been accused of artificially inflating the prices of several homes she sold, which at the time had earned her a place in the Re/Max hall of fame as one of their top agents. Polin claims the letter is an attack from a jealous rival.
read story from TampaBay.com

Florida Condo Under The Microscope
In an article by Tom Brown, the focus is a 643 unit condominium building in Miami where foreclosures are rampant, and he believes it's due to a type of scam known as cash-back-at-closing, where everyone from the buyer to the real estate agent inflate appraisal values in order to con the mortgage lender into funding the loan for more than it's worth.
read story from RISMedia

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

e-mail: MortgageWriter@aol.com

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