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

December 20, 2007

Loan Officer Caught Pocketing Escrow Funds
Renato Gonzales Quiazon, a former loan officer for New Century Mortgage, pleaded guilty in a California Federal court on charges that he took illegal kickbacks from homeowner's escrow accounts totaling more than $500,000.

HUD Losses Lead To Fraud Charges
Cesar Arenas has been charged and sentenced in an Illinois court to twenty months in prison for his part in a five person fraud ring led by Rhonda Torossian that cost the Department of Housing and Urban Development more than $330,000 in losses.
read story from The Rockford Register Star

Watch Your Wallet When You Sit On Santa's Lap
Criminals are out in force this holiday season, but these days, many of them are more interested in stealing your identity. Taking your credit card number and personal information rather than just the cash in your wallet is the gift that keeps on giving... for them at least. One way to fend them off may be to freeze your credit report, but make sure you finish your gift shopping first.
read story from The Olympian

December 19, 2007

FTC Targets Identity Theft
The Federal Trade Commission's Division of Privacy and Identity Protection testified before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security regarding it's concerns and efforts to prevent identity theft and aid those who are victimized.

2 Convicted In New Jersey Mortgage Scam
Between 2002 and 2005 William Ottaviano and Michael Eliasof sold dozens of homes with inflated values to under qualified buyers using falsified loan applications that cost lenders over $1 million in losses.
read story from NorthJersey.com

December 18, 2007

WaMu Employee Admits to Bribes
A former loan coordinator at Washington Mutual F.A.'s subprime unit was bribed with $100,000 in payments from a mortgage broker to help process fraudulent loan packages. He also was paid by in-house loan officers to fund mortgages with fraud.
read story from MortgageDaily.com

Florida Man Gets 3 Years For Appraisal Fraud
Robert W. Hulbert, manager of the Jacksonville branch of Nations Title Agency Of Florida, has been sentenced to three years behind bars, and restitution for recruiting an appraiser to drastically inflate area home prices totaling $17.7 million in mortgage loans, of which about $4 million landed in his own pockets.
read story from The Florida Times-Union

Suspicious Townhouse Sales Spark Fraud Probe
Mortgage broker Zak Ahmadzada and real estate agent Khalid Mirza are under investigation by an FBI probe looking into several unusual property transactions in a Virginia subdivision of townhouses where many of the homes sold for much higher prices than their appraisals stated they were worth, and then quickly fell into foreclosure.
read story from The Washington Post

Task Force Gaining On Mortgage Fraud
Juan Torrens and his wife Rachell Torrens are among the 55 individuals who have been arrested since September of this year when the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Florida launched it's Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which has diligently been targeting crooked appraisers, bank employees, title agents, and straw buyers.
read story from CBS4

December 17, 2007

Alaska Jury Indicts 9 For Mortgage Scam
Over a three year period, Lance Lockard, Holli Stroud, Gary Paterna, Charles Carlson, Jonathan Ruf, Keith Facer, Don Murray, Cerise Sanders, and Susan McCready defrauded 13 banks and mortgage companies out of $1.7 million according to charges filed by an Anchorage Federal grand jury.
read story from KTUU

31 Charged In Florida Mortgage Fraud Ring
Charges against 31 people have been filed by Federal officials in a fraud involving $14 million in bad mortgage loans on 28 Florida Properties. Juan Torrens and his wife Rachel Torrens have been accused of being the scheme's ring leaders.
read story from The Sun Sentinel

Leader Of ID Theft Ring Sentenced
Charles W. Griffin has been sentenced by a Seattle court to pay restitution to his victims for recruiting mortgage and escrow company employees to provide him with sensitive banking information for customers, whom he then defrauded of approximately $335,000.
read story from The Examiner

Orman's Top 4 Tips On Identity Safety
Suzy Orman, best selling author, television host, and financial guru, gives out some sound tips and practices on how to avoid becoming the next victim of identity theft.
read story from The Detroit Free Press

Co-Conspirator Targeted in Mortgage Fraud Probe
A federal criminal probe which has already obtained a guilty plea from Robert L. Dodsworth in a PA mortgage fraud scam, may now be targeting Keith A. Rice, who some home buyers point to as their initial contact in the scheme that involved some 200 properties.
read story from GoErie.com

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

e-mail: MortgageWriter@aol.com

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