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Mortgage Fraud

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BUSINESS
March 13, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
The U.S. Justice Department used faulty statistics to overstate its mortgage-fraud prosecution efforts and ranked mortgage-fraud last in its list of priorities despite public pledges to combat these types of crimes, an internal watchdog said Thursday.  The 52-page report by the Justice Department's inspector general found that for the fiscal years of 2009 through 2011, the federal law enforcement agency's effort to prosecute mortgage fraud...
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BUSINESS
March 13, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
The U.S. Justice Department used faulty statistics to overstate its mortgage-fraud prosecution efforts and ranked mortgage-fraud last in its list of priorities despite public pledges to combat these types of crimes, an internal watchdog said Thursday.  The 52-page report by the Justice Department's inspector general found that for the fiscal years of 2009 through 2011, the federal law enforcement agency's effort to prosecute mortgage fraud...
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BUSINESS
June 18, 2010 | By E. Scott Reckard, Jim Puzzanghera and Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
Seeking to show victories against the kind of ground-level fraud that contributed to the housing crash, federal authorities said Thursday that they had filed criminal charges in recent months against 1,200 mortgage brokers and others accused of cheating banks and borrowers of $2.3 billion. White-collar crime experts said the size and scope of what the government presented Thursday — dubbed Operation Stolen Dreams — represented an unprecedented crackdown on mortgage fraud.
BUSINESS
December 3, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- A federal jury in Sacramento after a five-week trial has returned guilty verdicts against three men who operated an Orange County-based "foreclosure rescue scam," according to U.S. Atty. Benjamin Wagner. Convicted on Monday were Charles Head, 36, a former Los Angeles resident; Benjamin Budoff, 46, of Colorado Springs; and Domonic McCarns, 39, of Irvine. Wagner described Head as the leader of the operation that extracted more than $5.7 million in equity from victims' homes, many in California.
BUSINESS
August 31, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Tommy “Tiny” Lister, a character actor who has appeared in nearly 100 movies including “Jackie Brown” and “Beverly Hills Cop II,” has agreed to plead guilty to a mortgage fraud scheme that cost banks $3.8 million. The 54-year-old actor entered the plea agreement Friday, the same day prosecutors charged him with conspiring from 2005 to 2007 to buy homes he could not afford and to withdraw more than $1.1 million cash in home-equity loans that were not repaid. Prosecutors accused Lister and five other people - a real estate agent, a mortgage loan officer, a bank manager, an escrow officer and an accountant - of using falsified records to help Lister unlawfully acquire four homes for $5.7 million.
NEWS
March 9, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer
A former Countrywide Financial Corp. loan officer has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges related to a nearly $40 million mortgage fraud scheme. Federal prosecutors alleged that Paige Kinney of Phoenix operated the scheme from 2005 to 2007, using “straw buyers” to apply for home loans they never intended to repay. She submitted altered documents, such as bank statements and pay stubs, to make the buyers appear more credit-worthy than they were, prosecutors said.
BUSINESS
October 9, 2012 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK -- The U.S. attorney in Manhattan has accused Wells Fargo of defrauding a government-backed mortgage insurance program, in another major civil case brought in the wake of the housing bust and financial crisis. The mortgage-fraud suit, filed by U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, seeks "hundreds of millions of dollars" in damages for claims the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has paid for defaulted loans "wrongfully certified" by Wells Fargo. The suit alleges the San Francisco banking giant falsely certified loans insured by the government's Federal Housing Administration.
BUSINESS
March 4, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Personalized T-shirts - The Better Business Bureau is warning that a company that sells made-to-order T-shirts has pocketed consumers' money without delivering the goods. The consumer group said it has received more than 100 complaints from consumers who said they paid a company called Personally Yours for personalized T-shirts, did not receive them and could not receive refunds. “When making online purchases, the best recourse consumers have is to pay by credit card,” said Robert Crockett, chief executive of the BBB serving Southern Nevada.  “In the event of fraud, non-delivery or non-communication with a business, consumers can dispute charges with their credit card company to try and receive refunds.” Ponzi scheme - A federal grand jury in San Francisco has indicted two people on charges related to a $129-million Ponzi scheme.
BUSINESS
May 3, 2011
The United States sued Deutsche Bank AG for more than $1 billion, accusing the German bank of defrauding the government by repeatedly lying to obtain federal insurance guarantees on mortgage debt. The lawsuit filed Tuesday against Deutsche Bank and its MortgageIT Inc unit is believed to be among the first targeting mortgage lenders under the federal False Claims Act. It also marks the newest push by the government to hold the mortgage industry responsible for perceived excesses that contributed to a four-year-old U.S. housing slump and hundreds of thousands of foreclosures.
BUSINESS
October 23, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK - Bank of America has been found liable for fraud in the sale of faulty loans by its Countrywide mortgage unit, a major victory for the federal government as it continues to pursue cases stemming from the financial crisis. A federal jury in Manhattan sided with prosecutors who alleged Countrywide Financial Corp. churned out risky home loans in a process called "the Hustle" and then sold them to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Calabasas company, once considered the crown jewel of American mortgage lending, made big profits unloading loans that were later rendered worthless during the housing crisis in 2008.
BUSINESS
November 20, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
The "statement of fact" -- that narrative document that lays out what a corporate defendant has done wrong, without actually mentioning anything that could hurt the corporation in court -- has become our generation's big new literary genre. The statement accompanying JPMorgan Chase's $13-billion legal settlement this week is a perfect example of the form. Like most such narratives, it's notable more for what's hidden between the lines than for what's on the page, as in a novel by Joseph Conrad.
BUSINESS
October 23, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel
NEW YORK - Bank of America has been found liable for fraud in the sale of faulty loans by its Countrywide mortgage unit, a major victory for the federal government as it continues to pursue cases stemming from the financial crisis. A federal jury in Manhattan sided with prosecutors who alleged Countrywide Financial Corp. churned out risky home loans in a process called "the Hustle" and then sold them to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Calabasas company, once considered the crown jewel of American mortgage lending, made big profits unloading loans that were later rendered worthless during the housing crisis in 2008.
BUSINESS
September 27, 2013 | By Lew Sichelman
In little-noticed proceedings earlier this year, 11 people pleaded guilty in a federal court in northern Virginia to a scam that fleeced banks out of millions of dollars. According to the charging documents, the defendants were involved in overlapping conspiracies in which they would systematically alter the terms of real estate closings so lenders would send more money than they needed to. The thieves would then pocket the difference. The case shines some light on perhaps the shadiest side of mortgage fraud.
BUSINESS
May 31, 2013 | By Ken Bensinger
Thursday night's revelation that Ronald Holmes, father of former UCLA hoops star Shabazz Muhammad, had been indicted in Las Vegas on mortgage fraud charges raises a number of questions. The indictment, a copy of which can be found here , lays out a rough sketch of Holmes' alleged scheme, which involved obtaining mortgages to buy and sell houses using fraudulent information and straw bidders from 2006 to 2009. To pull off the fraud, Holmes, 51 years old and a former USC shooting guard, allegedly worked with several associates.
NATIONAL
January 30, 2013 | By Richard A. Serrano, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Assistant Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer, who boosted white-collar prosecutions and oversaw the investigation into the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill, announced that he would resign as one of the longest-serving chiefs of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. Breuer, whose resignation is effective March 1, had been expected to leave after President Obama's first term. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, noted that Breuer was the third top Justice Department official to depart after the department's inspector general reviewed Fast and Furious, the program that allowed illegal gun sales along the Arizona-Mexico border in an effort to trace them to drug cartels.
NEWS
January 30, 2013 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - Assistant U.S. Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer, who made his mark ramping up the prosecution of white-collar crime and overseeing the government's Gulf of Mexico oil spill investigation, announced he is soon leaving his post as one of the longest serving heads of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. While Breuer, 54, had been expected to depart after serving four years in President Obama's first term, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, noted that Breuer, who was formally admonished in the Fast and Furious scandal, has now become the third top Justice official to step down after the department's blistering inspector general's report into the flawed gun-tracking operation.
BUSINESS
September 29, 2011 | By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times
Mortgage fraud reports to the Treasury Department jumped 88% in the second quarter — mainly because banks are reexamining loans from the housing boom and finding problems. And California led the way in this dubious trend, Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network division said in a quarterly report released Wednesday. The agency said the mortgage-collection arms of banks filed 29,558 suspicious activity reports involving possible loan fraud in the quarter that ended June 30. That compared with 15,727 that the mortgage servicers filed in the same quarter of 2010.
BUSINESS
May 24, 2011 | By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times
Rene Rafael Lopez paid more than $35,000 to a company that claimed it would work with him to save his East Los Angeles home from foreclosure. "They told me, 'Don't worry, we are going to take care of everything,'" Lopez said, speaking Spanish. But nothing happened. "This company now doesn't answer my calls or anything," Lopez said. His home was sold at auction earlier this year. It's a story that could have been told by numerous homeowners in Southern California who lost their properties after paying thousands of dollars to companies who pledged to help.
BUSINESS
January 11, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
Wells Fargo & Co.'s 25% gain in fourth-quarter earnings provides welcome news for the economy, with the U.S.'s fourth-largest bank showing solid increases in overall consumer and commercial lending and setting aside less cash for potential defaults. Wells Fargo said Friday it earned $4.9 billion , or 91 cents a share, on revenue of $21.9 billion, up from a year-earlier profit of $3.9 billion, or 73 cents a share, on revenue of $20.6 billion. Both profit and revenue beat Wall Street expectations.
BUSINESS
November 4, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Hurricane Sandy -- The Justice Department and FBI are warning consumers to be careful when making donations intended to help victims of Sandy. Here are some other tips: --Do not  respond to spam emails or click on any links in the emails and instead seek out reputable organizations on their websites. Most reputable charities have websites that end with “.org” instead of “.com.” --Do not respond to high-pressure solicitations; reputable organizations do not use coercive tactics.
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