Hi, How Can We Help You?

Category Archives: 47A Mortgage Fraud Victories

State v. Mr. B (DMC No. 12267) – Felony Mortgage Fraud ($140,000), Felony Fraudulent Schemes & Felony Vulnerable Adult Abuse – Not Charged – California Law Firm Investigated.

Mr. B owned a company that would buy houses, remodel them, and then “flip” them. He did this with the help of a partner. He became involved with an insurance agent that sold annuities to her clients. She would convince her clients to break their annuities in order to buy properties that Mr. B. would then sell. Unbeknownst to the clients, and unbeknownst to Mr. B., a $100,000 annuity that would be broken early by a client would have a $25,000 surrender fee to be paid to the insurance agent. When the insurance agent would refer over clients to buy houses from Mr. B., she would include her fee in the price (even though she wasn’t on the real estate documents) and he would send her the money for the property closed.

The alleged victim in this case was an 82 year old gentleman who claimed he did not know about the surrender fee on his annuities, and that he was basically taken advantage of by the insurance agent due to his age. He bought two houses from Mr. B. that were in Arizona while the alleged victim lived in California. One of the houses was being routinely vandalized and having copper and appliances stolen from it, so Mr. B. had one of his workers live in the house for six months (rent free) in order to protect it. The alleged victim was claiming that it was Mr. B. who was having the copper and appliances sold on the side in order to defraud additional funds out of the victim.

When Mr. B. received a threatening inquiry from a law firm in California regarding Mortgage Fraud, Fraud Schemes and Vulnerable Adult Abuse, he contacted us. After reviewing all documents involved in the sale, we then had Mr. B take a polygraph with the following two questions: “Did you work with [insurance agent] to encourage her clients to cash out stocks, annuity, etc. in order to purchase properties owned by your company?” and “Did [construction worker] pay you rent in order to stay in the property that was regularly vandalized?” He answered “No” to both questions, which was “truthful”. In addition, we obtained Affidavits from his business partner and the construction worker who lived in the house. All of this was assembled and sent to the Attorney in California. Working with the Attorney in California, he agreed that this was a civil matter and not a criminal matter. Mr. B. settled for a very small amount of money and was never charged with any crimes.

U.S. v. Ms. R (DMC No. 12749) – Federal Felony Money Laundering ($100,000) and Federal Felony Mortgage Fraud – Not Charged – US Postal Inspection Service Investigated; US Attorney’s Office Reviewed.

Ms. R had become friends with a lady by the name of “Elizabeth” who would borrow money from her quite often. She had met Elizabeth’s husband, a Mexican National, and she became a bit suspicious about her loans. One of these loans involved a $100,000 amount for a down payment on a house for Elizabeth. Ms. R signed a document stating that the money was not a loan, and that it was a gift. This was a knowingly false statement which could constitute Mortgage Fraud.

Several months later, the $100,000 was repaid to Ms. R. Shortly after that time, a Postal Inspector from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service contacted Ms. R about that money. Ms. R admitted that it was not a gift, and that it was repaid. The Postal Inspector informed her that she not only committed Mortgage Fraud, but most likely the repayment of the money was drug proceeds from her friend Elizabeth and her husband. This would constitute Money Laundering.

We became involved and we contacted the Postal Inspector. We then involved an Assistant U.S. Attorney in order to negotiate a “cooperation” deal in which Ms. R would be a witness. We were able to show them that she was unwittingly duped by Elizabeth and her husband. They agreed to not file charges in exchange for cooperation. Ultimately, Elizabeth’s husband was charged and convicted. No charges were ever brought against Ms. R. Initially, she was facing many years in prison due to the severity of the charges and the amount of fraud involved.

State v. Mr. G (DMC No. 14590) – Felony Embezzlement ($471,640), Felony Mortgage Fraud and Felony Fraudulent Schemes – Not Charged – Enforcement and Compliance Division of the Arizona Department of Real Estate Investigated (File No. XXF-DI-XXX-REL).

Mr. G owned a global investment company and he was issued a real estate license through the Arizona Department of Real Estate. Later, he was also issued a broker’s license and a salesperson license. The Department of Real Estate conducted an onsite audit of Mr. G’s books and they found varying discrepancies.

His employees were negligent in the performing acts, which required a license, and they did not exercise supervision over the company. Specifically, property management duties were not properly handled. At one point, a property management agreement which was utilized by Mr. G which did not contain a clause stating that the PMA cannot be assigned to another licensee, or licensed entity, without the expressed written consent of the property owner as required by A.R.S. 32-2173(A) (1) (j).

The main issue was that the property management trust agreement, journals and client ledgers were not in balance with each other. This is required by A.R.S. 32-2151(B) (2). The resulting shortage was an amount of $471,640. The Department of Real Estate alleged that Mr. G had opened a line of credit from Chase Bank for approximately $300,000. They alleged that he had done this by purchasing Certificates of Deposit with trust fund account money and used that as collateral to secure the line of credit. They then alleged that he later bought properties to use for himself, and not for the benefit of his clients. Ultimately, the Arizona Department of Real Estate filed a Cease and Desist Order and set the case for a Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. In addition, civil lawsuits were filed against Mr. G.

We became involved at the request of Mr. G’s civil counsel in order to prevent criminal charges from being filed. We were able to show that the entire amount of money that was supposedly missing was actually still deposited with the bank in various CDs. We were also able to show prior email communications with somebody in the Department of Real Estate who indicated that securing a line of credit with the CDs was “okay”, since the money couldn’t be touched and was being held at the actual bank. Eventually, all of the clients were made whole, and after a Motion to Stay the civil proceedings was filed, the case resolved.

U.S. v. Ms. G (DMC No. 14158) – Federal Felony Mortgage Fraud ($1,100,000), Federal Felony Bank and Wire Fraud, Felony Fraudulent Schemes, and Felony Forgery – Not Charged – Large National Bank Investigated.

Ms. G and her husband were going to purchase a large house for approx. $1,000,000. The appraisal information was sent from the loan originator, and the loan originator specifically asked if any funds were going to be pulled from a retirement account, to which Ms. G and her husband said “no.” Ultimately, discrepancies were found in the closing documents, and in order to close on the house, Ms. G had the house purchased in her husband’s name only. This was accomplished through a Special Warranty Deed signed by the husband “as a married man as his sole and separate property.” Ms. G signed a Disclaimer Deed disclaiming any interest in the property. Also, they both signed a Warranty Deed conveying property from husband’s sole and separate property to husband and wife.

The potential problem was that the Disclaimer Deed signed by Ms. G indicated that none of her assets or community assets were used in the purchase of the home. This is not accurate as a joint check was used for the purchase. In addition, the intent was always to use community assets to buy the home. After the closing, the bank discovered discrepancies and began investigating. A potential concern was that Forgery was committed, along with allegations of Fraudulent Schemes, and Mortgage Fraud per Arizona Revised Statue 13-2320. Lastly, a  potential for Federal Bank and Wire Fraud was also possible due to the federal loan documents which were signed.

We were able to show although Ms. G did not sign the document indicating the property was purchased with separate funds of the spouse, that it must be read in conjunction with the other documents signed by Ms. G at the same time. Specifically, that Mr. G. received title through the Special Warranty Deed the day before the Disclaimer Deed, and that he signed the Warranty Deed at the same time as the Disclaimer Deed, thereby suggesting that they were meant to function together to promote the buyers’ intent (as outlined in both the purchase contract and the loan pre-qualification form).

We were able to show that none of the documents were indicative of any intent to defraud. The only real issue had to do with community property issues down the road should they become divorced. Initially, Ms. G was facing the potential of multiple years in prison, but we were able to convince the bank not to turn this into a criminal matter and get the authorities involved.

A DPS Detective on the Mortgage Fraud Task Force was researching the names used by individuals to purchase two specific properties which totaled $650,000 in value. He pulled up the MVD database and utilized their facial recognition system to show that the names given with purchases per MVD records, did not match faces that were on their licenses in the database. Also, different dates of birth and social security numbers were used. He then compared those images with pictures of our client on Facebook and he found that there was a match.

He then researched the mortgage documents from the mortgage company and analyzed the Residential Loan Applications. He discovered that Real Estate Agent, conspiring with the Loan Officer, then made contact with a Loan Processor and our client (who is the buyer of the purchases/two mortgages). He discovered that these were actual “straw purchases” that were being facilitated by way of forgery and fraud on the various banking institutions that loaned the money for the residential purchases.

We were able to show the Prosecutor that our client’s only connection to this scheme was that he used a false identity to purchase the houses. Although this could still be charged as Forgery, we proved he did not have the required mental state relating to Fraud Schemes to show that he “knowingly obtained any benefit by using the fraudulent name.” The Prosecution agreed to reduce the charges to Securing the Proceeds of an Offense, which carried with it probation and zero days in jail. Originally, our client was facing mandatory prison due to the fact that the amount of the Fraud Scheme was above $100,000.

MORTGAGE FRAUD ($400,000) NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. H (DMC No. 8231) (Tempe Police Department DR No. 06-074541): Mr. H owned a small mortgage refinance company which had been writing numerous loans just before the housing market crash. One loan that he wrote was for a Mesa Police Officer. As part of the documents submitted to the underwriters, was a W2 for the Mesa Police Officer showing an income of $10,000 higher than he actually made. It appeared that that document had been altered.

When Mr. H was contacted by Tempe Police, he denied any knowledge of the document being altered. In addition, the loan was for $400,000, yet the house was only worth $310,000. We had Mr. H submit to a polygraph test, which he passed. We then presented this information as we sat down with Tempe Police, and they declined to file any charges against Mr. H. Mr. H could have been facing years in prison, along with the loss of his Securities License if he would have been convicted.

NOT CHARGED | FRADULENT SCHEMES/MORTGAGE FRAUD ($289,000) FORGERY – State v. Mr. D. (DMC No. 8662) (Private Law Firm Investigated): Mr. D. owned an investment company and had Power of Attorney for a client that he had been friends with for approximately 7 years.  The client was out of the country and had Mr. D. sign off for the client on various home loan documents.  Unfortunately, Mr. D. signed the client’s name itself, instead of signing his name as Power of Attorney.  When the housing market turned, the client attempted to back out of all his loans by claiming that he had no knowledge that Mr. D. had signed the documents on his behalf (even though his wife and children all lived inside the house).  A private law firm became involved and threatened ligation and criminal prosecution.  We were able to point out that the alleged victim’s claims were ridiculous because he lived in the house and would have obviously known that financial documents would have been signed and that a transaction took place.  Even though the house went into foreclosure and there was over $289,000 in loses, no criminal prosecution was brought and all civil lawsuits were shut down.

NOT CHARGED | FRAUDULENT SCHEMES/MORTGAGE FRAUD ($221,000) NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. M. (DMC No. 11094) (Republic Mortgage Insurance Company Investigated): Mr. M. was accused of securing a loan for rental properties by submitting lease agreements from paying tenants.  It was alleged that there were no paying tenants, and that he actually lived in several properties himself.  Eventually, the real estate market crashed and he ended up selling both properties in a “short sale”.  In order to attempt to recoup their losses against Countrywide Mortgage, the title insurance company began investigating Mr. M.  We were able to interceded on Mr. M.’s behalf and ensure that no charges were brought against Mr. M.  In addition, no civil suit was ever brought against him.

REDUCED | 8 COUNTS of FRAUD SCHEMES and MORTGAGE FRAUD/5 COUNTS of ID THEFT/7 COUNTS of FORGERY and 1 COUNT of THEFT REDUCED to a SINGLE COUNT of FORGERY with PROBATION and 60 DAYS JAIL – State v. Mr. M. (DMC No. 6028) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2005-011595): Mr. M. was being accused of being involved in fraudulent real estate loans that included “straw buyers” which resulted in $1.5 million of fraudulent loans.  We were able to show that Mr. M. did not know that the loans were to straw buyers, and that he did not receive any kickbacks from the co-defendants.  The only thing Mr. M. was guilty of was a single count of forgery.  Although he was facing decades in prison, we were able to get the case reduced to a simple probation with 60 days in jail.  The co-defendants were not as lucky.

 

 

DEFRAUDING A SECURED CREDITOR/MORTGAGE FRAUD ($41,000) REDUCED to CLASS 6 Open/Misdemeanor CRIMINAL DAMAGE (Designated as a MISDEMEANOR at Sentencing) with PROBATION and ZERO DAYS in JAIL. – State v. Mr. C (DMC No. 9569) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR 2010-115555): Mr. C. and his wife had purchased a house that was well beyond their means. This occurred prior to the housing bubble, and when their rates readjusted, Mr. C. could no longer afford the house. Prior to the house going into foreclosure, he sought bad legal advice and was informed that he could remove various fixtures from the house. After he removed $41,000 in fixtures, he then let the house proceed into foreclosure. JP Chase Bank subsequently contacted Police, and Mr. C. was charged for Defrauding a Secured Creditor/Mortgage Fraud. We were able to arrange for most of the items to be returned and secured an offer from the Prosecutor to Criminal Damage Class 6/Open with Probation. At Sentencing we convinced the Judge to designate the case as an outright Misdemeanor, and to waive any Jail time. Because Mr. C. was employed in the tax preparation field, this allowed him to keep his employment due to the fact that there was no Felony on his record.

 

Call Now Button