January 30th, 2009 at 9:10am
A husband and wife were charged with mortgage fraud, false statements on loan applications, bankruptcy fraud, contempt of court, perjury and money laundering in a recently unsealed federal indictment. The couple, Justine Lorraine Rice, 45, and Wendell Anthony Rice, 45, formerly of Rancho Santa Fe, were arrested in Escondido, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Justine Rice allegedly lied and falsified documents to obtain a mortgage to buy a home in Rancho Santa Fe. When Rice filed for bankruptcy two years later, she arranged for a straw buyer to purchase the home, which was in foreclosure, by falsifying documents. She may have also committed escrow fraud by managing to divert the proceeds to an account controlled by Wendell Rice.
Read the Full Article in the San Diego North County Times.
January 29th, 2009 at 6:04pm
It’s not secret that California is one of the hardest-hit states for foreclosures. It’s therefore also not surprising that there is no shortage of “foreclosure vultures” preying on homeowners in trouble. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and California Real Estate Commissioner Jeff Davi held a news conference this week to issue warnings to homeowners in English and Spanish to turn away “loan consultants” and the like.
Homeowner Jose Hernandez of Pacoima was approached by such a man outside his church, who promised to help Hernandez save his home for $300. The man disappeared with Hernandez’ money and did nothing.
At a recent foreclosure avoidance clinic held last year in Riverside County, men carrying clipboards and dressed in suits like bank executives were approaching homeowners waiting in line. They were arrested for attempting to represent themselves as working for the lenders that were there.
January 29th, 2009 at 5:46pm
Homeowners in default with their risky low-interest loans have something new to worry about: so-called loan modification “experts”, “consultants”, or “counselors”, as they variously call themselves.
California Civil Code generally forbids such businesses from collecting an upfront fee for their services from already strapped consumers once the Notice of Default (NOD) has been recorded. An upfront fee may only be legally demanded if the homeowner is not yet in default and there is a reviewed advance fee agreement on file and approved by the California Department of Real Estate.
Consumers should especially avoid any loan modification service that advises the homeowner to stop making mortgage payments, refuse calls from their lender (note: lenders actually calling the homeowners?) and to let the loan modification company speak with the lender. This has SCAM written all over it.
Speaking personally, I have never encountered a person who claims to do loan modifications who actually did so successfully. All promise to send me references, none ever have. The ones with a business number are hard to reach and return phone calls less frequently than the average loan officer or real estate agent.
Read the Full Article in the Redding Record Searchlight.
January 21st, 2009 at 2:05pm
An Altadena woman charged by federal authorities with operating an $18 million real estate investment fraud scam that focused on African Americans received a sentence in federal court of 12 1/2 years in prison
Jeanetta Standefor, 40, operator of Accelerated Funding Group (AFG) in Pasadena, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson to pay over $8.6 million in restitution to her victims as a result of her investment fraud.
Standefor promoted a “foreclosure reinstatement” program that attracted more than 600 investors and purported to use the funds to cure defaults on distressed properties, according to federal prosecutors. Although she promised returns of up to 50% in just a few months (Investors: that should have been a hint!), Standefor was in fact just operating a Ponzi scheme.
Read the Full Article in the Pasadena Star News.
You can also read about Jeanetta Standefor on American Greed.
January 21st, 2009 at 1:50pm
Elder fraud may have been committed against Elias Ayoub, 74, who owned a Sacramento-area home for about thirty years and raised his family there. Robert Yang, aka John Chu, is a financial consultant who was arrested for placing the name of a “straw buyer” on the title to Ayoub’s home (wouldn’t that be title fraud). Yang had originally recommended that in order for the Ayoub, who had poor credit, to obtain a loan against his home, title should have been changed into the name of Ayoub’s son. In addition, the lender, Nationstar Mortgage LLC, suffered a loss of $347,000, according to court documents.
Read the Full Article in the Sacramento Bee.
January 21st, 2009 at 1:38pm
Tony Havens, a convicted fraudster, was denied his request to reduce his $1 million bail for Tony Havens on his latest arrest on 10 charges of fraud. The new charges are regarding about $330,000 that Gulf Coast casino and golf course developers paid Havens for appraisals he is alleged to have deliberately intended not to do. Talk about appraisal fraud!
The real estate fraud may end up putting some of the developers out of business . . .
Read the Full Article in the Modesto Bee.
January 15th, 2009 at 10:35pm
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is creating a new Real Estate Fraud/Predatory Lending Task Force to help homeowners who may have been victimized by predatory lending practices. Newly-elected Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas believes such as task force is necessary in Los Angeles County, where foreclosures have increased elevenfold in the last three years.
From 2006 to 2008, the number of home foreclosures in the L.A. County increased from 3,151 to 35,811.
The new task force may grow to include state and federal agencies
Complaints are already coming in from people victimized by the deceptive practices of home loan modification facilitators and foreclosure consultants, who often demand upfront money (ILLEGAL in the state of California) and promise the homeowner they will get them a loan modification.
Read this excellent consumer Article from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
January 13th, 2009 at 11:11pm
Former Realtor David Crisp, who was stripped of his real estate license by the California Department of Real Estate in 2008, is being sued by a man who claims Crisp duped in a deal that some might call title fraud. He claims Crisp’s scheme result in loan fraud against the lenders and ruined his good credit.
Crisp and his former business partner Carl Cole are the subjects of an ongoing FBI mortgage fraud investigation into their company Crisp and Cole.
Read the Full Article in KGET 17.
January 13th, 2009 at 10:57pm
A Turlock real estate broker has pled not guilty to stealing more than a million dollars from his family, friends and classmates.
Bounthavy Tyler Manivong, 31, of Livingston is accused of stealing from his uncle as well as classmates at California State University Stanislaus as part of a real estate fraud scheme.
Read the Full Article in the Turlock Journal.
January 4th, 2009 at 12:24pm
The “little man” whose taxes are bailing out Wall Street giant Citigroup is getting a boot in the face when it comes to loan modifications. But at the same time Citigroup is bending over backwards to help the owner of Quick Loan Funding, the subprime lender whose risky lending practices contributed to Citigroup’s near collapse.
Daniel Sadek, founder of Quick Loan Funding, got an offer from Citi Residential Lending to modify its loan terms when he fell behind on his mortgage payments at 65 Briar Lane in Irvine, which may not even be his primary residence. He never made one payment on the new loan and on December 18, 2008 City filed a Notice of Default against Sadek.
On the other hand, Dave Karecki, 47, has been unable to get lenders Citi and Countrywide to modify $420,000 in mortgages on his Norco home after he lost his job and his wife’s hours were cut back on her job as a teaching aide. Their home is now worth approximately half of what they paid for it.
“They’re not working with us,” Karecki said. “My frustration is I call back and call back and get a different person every time and they tell me to refax everything. It’s an absolute circus.”
Read the Full Article in the OC Register by John Gittelsohn.