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Mortgage Fraud Latest News
GRETCHEN MORGENSON: Good news for homeowners - Has the bank lost your mortgage?
Tuesday, 27 October 2009

If Lenders Say ‘The Dog Ate Your Mortgage’
But if our current financial crisis has taught us anything, it is that many borrowers entered into mortgage agreements without a clear understanding of the debt they were incurring. And banks often lacked a clear understanding of whether all those borrowers could really repay their loans. Even so, banks and borrowers still do battle over foreclosures on an unlevel playing field that exists in far too many courtrooms. But some judges are starting to scrutinize the rules-don’t-matter methods used by lenders and their lawyers in the recent foreclosure wave. On occasion, lenders are even getting slapped around a bit. One surprising smackdown occurred on Oct. 9 in federal bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York. Ruling that a lender, PHH Mortgage, hadn’t proved its claim to a delinquent borrower’s home in White Plains, Judge Robert D. Drain wiped out a $461,263 mortgage debt on the property. That’s right: the mortgage debt disappeared, via a court order.

Big Fish, Little Fish - Who's Next
Friday, 16 October 2009

Judge finds Tousa was 'insolvent' when loans struck. Orders funds returned to companies by Oct. 23
A U.S. judge ruled that loans taken out by homebuilder and financial services company Tousa Inc six months before it filed for bankruptcy involved fraudulent transfers of assets and voided them, ordering the lenders to return more than $600 million. The ruling, issued on Tuesday in federal bankruptcy court in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, instructed the lenders to wire $403 million plus interest into a disgorgement account on or before Oct. 23. It also ordered other lenders who took as collateral a $207.3 million federal tax refund Tousa received shortly before the bankruptcy filing to turn over those funds plus interest.

Another Small Fish Prosecuted for Mortgage Fraud - Still Waiting for Big Fish
Friday, 16 October 2009

Bolivia man sentenced on mortgage fraud charges
A Bolivia man was sentenced in federal court last week to almost six years in prison for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme out of Whiteville that netted $6 million. Williams pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Homebuilder Toxic Mortgages and Foreclosures Troubles
Tuesday, 08 September 2009

Homebuilders Sued Over Lax Lending Rules
Thousands of homeowners nationwide are expected to join a string of federal class action lawsuits accusing eight major homebuilders of using their in-house finance companies to approve people for loans they couldn't afford, contributing to waves of foreclosures pummeling their neighborhoods. The eight suits filed late Thursday in the Central District's Riverside division name the California and national corporate offices of Standard Pacific Homes Inc., Richmond American Homes Corp., Lennar Corp., D.R. Horton Inc., Centex Corp., Shea Homes Inc., Beazer Homes USA Inc. and Ryland Group Inc.

Fast Money Mortgage Fraud Slow to Discover and Prosecute
Saturday, 05 September 2009

Melvin Lendall Brown, Owner of Brownstone Construction, Indicted in Houston, Texas on Fraud Charges
Brown, 49, of Houston, was charged with 16 counts of wire fraud arising from a scheme to defraud residential mortgage lenders of approximately $5 million in loans in connection with home purchases in the Houston area.

Mortgage Fraud: Indictments against 41 people and four companies
Saturday, 29 August 2009

Ohio task force cracks mortgage fraud case involving 453 homes
Uri Gofman of Beachwood, Ohio is alleged to have orchestrated one of the nation's largest mortgage fraud cases by enlisting family, friends and others to invest in his real estate company, Real Asset Fund, with promises of profit. Gofman's enterprise began with seed money from an investor who transferred funds from a bank account in Latvia. The scheme involved using straw buyers to purchase homes, falsely claiming home improvements were performed on houses in order to refinance them, and then selling houses to unqualified buyers with the assistance of real estate agents, mortgage brokers and title companies.

Mortgage Fraud Claim:Texas AG Takes Action
Thursday, 30 July 2009

Texas claim forms sent for Countrywide restitution
Attorney General Greg Abbott's office on Monday announced the forms were mailed late last week over the February agreement. The deal applies to Countrywide customers who secured loans between 2004 and 2007, who lost their homes to foreclosure or whose payments were 120 days behind as of Oct. 6, 2008. Only Countrywide customers who receive letters are eligible to seek restitution. The final dollar amount will depend upon the number of people who respond. The AG's office investigated Countrywide in 2008 for encouraging homeowners to accept loans they could not afford, failing to fully disclose risky terms and writing loans for unqualified borrowers

Texas Mortgage Fraud Dispenses $7.46M of Justce
Thursday, 30 July 2009

Countrywide to dispense $7.46M to Texans
Texans eligible for a portion of the payout will soon be receiving a form in the mail to fill out to request restitution, according to the Attorney General's office. The office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the program to reimburse Texas homeowners was first announced in February. Only customers who took out Countrywide loans between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2007 are eligible.

New York Times: Financial Misdeeds Little Legal Liability and New Opportunities
Sunday, 19 July 2009

NY Times GRETCHEN MORGENSON: Looking for the Lenders’ Little Helpers
It is hard not to be dismayed by the fact that two years into our economic crisis so few perpetrators of financial misdeeds have been held accountable for their actions. And what of the giant institutions that helped finance these monumentally toxic loans, or arranged the securitizations that bundled the loans and sold them to investors? So far, they have argued, fairly successfully, that they operated independently of the original lenders. Therefore, they are not responsible for any questionable loans that were made.

Lobby Watch: Countrywide $20 million in taxpayer funds
Friday, 05 June 2009

Indicted Countrywide Chief Built Second Home in Texas
In 2004 Texas' top leaders awarded $20 million in taxpayer funds to induce Countrywide to expand its Texas workforce. After the troubled company laid off one-fifth of its workforce, Governor Perry now refuses to release the compliance reports that Countrywide files to verify if it is has met the jobs requirements of its state grant.  Read more: Lobby Watch at TPJ.

New York Times: Countrywide Mozilo's “toxic” and “poison,” securities fraud
Friday, 05 June 2009

Citing e-mail messages in which Mr. Mozilo referred to Countrywide loan products as “toxic” and  “poison,” S.E.C. officials said that he had misled investors about growing risks in the company’s lending practices from 2005 through 2007. During this time he also generated $140 million in profits by selling stock in the company, the S.E.C. said.  “This is the tale of two companies,” said Robert Khuzami, enforcement director at the S.E.C. “Countrywide portrayed itself as underwriting mainly prime-quality mortgages, using high underwriting standards. But concealed from shareholders was the true Countrywide, an increasingly reckless lender assuming greater and greater risk.” At a news conference announcing its filing of the suit, the most prominent against an executive involved in the mortgage crisis, Mr. Khuzami said the S.E.C. had made it a priority “to pursue cases at the root of the financial crisis.” As the nation’s largest mortgage lender, Countrywide helped fuel the housing boom by offering loans to high-risk borrowers. See Related Feature: Rise and Fall of Predatory Lending and Housing

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