January 30th, 2012 at 9:45am
Straw buyers are integral players in mortgage fraud. Criminals who devise schemes are dependent on the straw buyer to “rent” his or her good credit, in exchange for what is no less than a bribe, in order to defaud lenders.
It is unfortunate that the justice system in most cases looks at straw buyers as non-essential players and often trades their testimony for no jail time in order to catch the operators of the schemes. This has certainly been true in California.
A case in Alabama highlights that it is possible to get critical testimony from straw buyers and still make them pay for their crimes. Rodger A. Gulledge testified against his ex-wife Melissa Gulledge and ringleader Lance A. Collins in a sophisticated mortgage fraud case in which the participants defrauded banks and the retirees who unwittingly invested in their scheme (elder financial abuse, real estate investment fraud). Collins pleaded guilty, and for his testimony, Rodger Gulledge received a sentence of one year and 10 months.
It’s time for prosecutors in California to treat straw buyers with the same seriousness as their colleagues in Alabama.
Read the original article in AL.com.
January 30th, 2012 at 9:28am
Two men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in relation to a mortgage fraud in which the lender’s losses may have exceeded $180,000.
Andrey Kim, 28, owned a home in West Sacramento. After obtaining a home equity loan in which, according to prosecutors, Kim lied about his income (loan fraud), he added Sultanmurod Rashidov, 29, as a joint owner to the property. Rashidov, of Brooklyn, New York, then also submitted fraudulent documents as to his financial status and the balance of the mortgage and obtained a $178,000 loan from the lender. Rashidov then defaulted.
The penalties for conviction of the mail fraud and money laundering charges could result in prison sentences for both up to 30 years, along with fines up to $1 million.
Read the original article in the Central Valley Business Times.
January 27th, 2012 at 11:04am
An 89-year old woman who paid off her home of 40 years in the late 1990s is probably going to lose it to foreclosure (mortgage fraud, elder financial abuse), thanks to a fraud allegedly involving an ex-LAPD officer and a self-annoited Bishop.
Vistula David was conned by Leroy Dowd, 74, a so-called charismatic leader of a South Los Angeles church named the Triumph Church of God. Not only did the elderly woman give Dowd money, she unwittingly signed over the deed to her house (title fraud, real estate fraud). Keta Davis, Vistula’s daughter, says her mother did not know what she was signing.
Dowd took out three loans against the property (all of which I have independently confirmed). To their credit, Wells Fargo and Bank of America cancelled the loans they held after their investigations determined the loans were fraudulent (loan fraud, mortgage fraud). IndyMac, however, is refusing to do so and proceeding with foreclosure, saying that they are merely servicing the loan for the investor.
Claremont Detective David DeMetz, who knows Dowd from another case, calls him “a smooth con artist.” Other detectives believe Dowd was in cahoots with former LAPD officer Darcey Greenfield, who operated a real estate business and whose business Greenfield and McCall took title to Mrs. Graham’s home at one point.
Greenfield is no longer with the LAPD, surrendered her real estate license in October 2011 and has been charged with ten felony counts, all related to real estate fraud, according to San Bernardino deputy district attorney Vance Welch.
Read the original article in NBC Los Angeles.
January 27th, 2012 at 9:43am
James Delbert McConville, the subject of many posts in the California Real Estate Fraud Report, has pleaded guilty in Oakland federal court to money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.
McConville was accused by prosecutors of setting up an elaborate network including a Citibank employee, an escrow officer, a Realtor and a notary public. He also convinced dozens of people to act as straw buyers, using their good credit and a bribe of $10,000 to encourage their participation.
The properties McConville purchased were located all across California. San Diego appraiser Todd Lackner referred to the schemes as “sterotypic mortgage fraud.”
Although he has promised to pay restitution, McConville’s attorney, Sara Rief, claims her client is broke. This is most likely due to the large amount of money his crimes afforded him to spend on himself.
Read the original article in KGTV San Diego.
January 27th, 2012 at 9:24am
A loan officer in Floridas has been sentenced to 70 months in prison, five years of supervised release and order to pay his victims more than $2 million in restitution after being caught stealing from elderly persons in a reverse mortgage fraud scam (elder financial fraud).
According to prosecutors, Louis Gendason, 42, was the brains behind the reverse mortgage fraud that operated nationwide and preyed on seniors who were experiencing financial problems. He created, then stole false equity (mortgage fraud, loan fraud) he created on the properties.
Gendason’s co-conspirators Kimberly Mackey, 47, and Marcos Echevarria, 29, received a 60 months and 24 months respectively for their roles.
Read the original article in the Sun Sentinel.
January 20th, 2012 at 9:19am
In 2004, corporate giant General Electric (GE) jumped into the booming subprime market by purchasing WMC Mortgage Corp. in Burbank. In short time, WMC loan officers, who, according to a former auditor, numbered shoe salesmen, strippers and a porn actress as their employees, began earning commissions as high as $1 million annually.
Years later, the FBI and Justice Department are finally looking into the defunct lender, perhaps as a reaction to Occupy Wall Street protests over Wall Street greed and excesses, or the extremely high numbers of defaults of WMC loans in the country’s most devastated real estate markets. Only New Century Financial Corp. in Irvine had more foreclosures on its subprime loans (subprime loan fraud).
Whistleblowers who claimed their complaints about loan officers falsifying loan documents (loan fraud) were ignored, are now coming out of the woodwork. Former compliance manager Dave Riedel recalls how a WMC manager told him “Fraud pays.” WMC eventually demoted Riedel and took away his work, effectively shooting the messenger, much as Bank of America had done with whistleblower Eileen Foster, a former internal auditor with Countrywide Home Loans in Boston. Foster was the subject of an earlier posting in the California Real Estate Fraud Report.
Read the original article in the Los Angeles Times and iWatch News at the Center for Public Integrity.
January 20th, 2012 at 8:31am
Raymond Foakes, 48, once president of the Sonoma Hells Angels, is going to spend up to five years and 10 months in prison for his participation in a mortgage fraud scheme.
Foakes signed his name to what he knew were fraudulent loan documents so that he could purchase a home that was used as a marijuana grow house. He was apparently one of at least eight persons recruited by loan officer Jacob Moynihan to act as straw buyers during 2006 and 2007. Moynihan and his father Gerald Moynihan are two of the other defendants.
In addition to his prison sentence, Foakes must be pay restitution and his contact with other Hells Angels members will be limited when he gets out of prison.
Read the original article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
January 12th, 2012 at 10:31pm
A man living with his family in what was thought to be a vacant home in Vacaville might turn out to be a victim of a real estate swindle.
Johnnie Carabajal claims he has given almost $48,000 in cash to a real estate agent named Alonzo Brown III toward the purchase of the home. Carbajal thought Brown was forwarding the payments to Wells Fargo, which was unaware Carbajal was trying to buy the property and served him with a foreclosure notice.
Brown is under indictment for mortgage fraud for allegedly taking out loans in the names of his friends, without their knowledge or consent, in order to purchase houses.
Read the original article in FoxNews.com
January 12th, 2012 at 10:17pm
Leilani Luahiwa, 52, has been charged with elder financial abuse and theft for stealing her mother’s home.
Luahiwa’s 87-year old mother thought she was signing paperwork that would make her daughter her caregiver. She only learned she no longer owned the home when another daughter discovered the property taxes had not been paid for four years.
The case was investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Read the original article on ABC 7.
January 12th, 2012 at 10:09pm
Christopher Jared Warren, a former employee of Loomis Wealth Solutions, pleaded guilty in a mortgage fraud case in which he admitted stealing $7.5 million from a mortgage company through his own firm, Triduanum Financial. His business partner, Scott Edward Cavell, remains a fugitive.
Before his own initial flight from the United States, the high-rolling Warren chartered a jet from Las Vegas to Beirut, Lebanon carrying millions of dollars in gold bullion. He also left a rambling confession to his activites on his now-defunct website.
Warren was arrested when he tried to re-enter to United States from Toronto carrying a false passport and $70,000 stuffed inside his cowboy boots. Six million dollars is still missing, according to authorities.
Before starting his own firm, Christopher Warren worked for Lawrence “Lee” Loomis at Roseville-based Loomis Wealth Solutions. Although he has not been charged with a crime, Loomis, 55, is suspected of running a Ponzi scheme that caused millions of dollars to be lost by investors.
Read the original article in News10 and the Sacramento Bee.