mortgage fraud - Articles

'Real Housewives' Star Teresa Giudice, Husband Face Prison

AP By David Porter NEWARK, N.J. -- A "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star and her husband face prison time after they pleaded guilty this week to federal fraud charges for concealing income and lying during bankruptcy proceedings. In contrast to their often raucous on-screen personas, Teresa and Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice... Continue Reading »

Los Angeles Sues Bank of America, Alleging Mortgage Discrimination

AP LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles city attorney is suing Bank of America for mortgage discrimination it claims led to a wave of foreclosures that cost the city a fortune in extra expenses and lost taxes. The suit, filed Friday in federal court, claims B of A redlined minority neighborhoods for years, then turned around... Continue Reading »

Lying About Income to Get a Mortgage Now an Even Bigger Mistake

Shutterstock By Christine DiGangi A lot has changed in the mortgage market during the past few years. Home prices have improved and sales have gotten more competitive. Even mortgage fraud has taken a different route. Mortgage application fraud risk is down 5.6 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2013,... Continue Reading »

Latest Mortgage Fraud Trend: Collusion on the Inside

CNBC By Celia Watson Seupel, Special to CNBC When real estate agent John Lebron opened EZ Investments in Tampa, Fla., he may have already been planning fraud. His very first EZ Investments transaction involved selling a distressed property to his sister, then to his brother-in-law, the kind of "non-arms-length"... Continue Reading »

Feds See a Decline in Mortgage Fraud for the 1st Time

By Christine DeGangi Reports of mortgage fraud declined in 2012, the first decrease in such reports since the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network started tracking them in 2002. FinCEN received 69,277 Mortgage Loan Fraud Suspicious Activity Reports, or MLF SARs, in 2012, 25 percent fewer than the... Continue Reading »

10 Worst Cities for Potential Mortgage Fraud

The housing market has been improving significantly for nearly a year at this point, but with those upticks in activity across the board in the last several months, it seems that instances of potential fraud also increased. The total amount of possible mortgage fraud nationwide rose 1.1 percent from July to September 2012... Continue Reading »

Bank of America to Pay $10 Billion Over Risky Mortgages

Bank of America says it will spend more than $10 billion to settle mortgage claims resulting from the housing meltdown. Under the deal announced Monday, the bank will pay $3.6 billion to Fannie Mae and buy back $6.75 billion in loans that the North Carolina-based bank and its Countrywide banking unit sold to the... Continue Reading »

Latest in Mortgage Fraud: Flopping

By Les Christie Why would anyone spread possum urine around a house, turn up the heat and close all the windows for a few days? Because they're flopping, of course. Flopping is the latest in mortgage fraud, in which sellers actually want as low a price as possible. The scheme works if they are underwater on their... Continue Reading »

Banks Accused of Defrauding Homeowners by Rigging Libor

By James O'Toole Add one more to the list of alleged victims of Libor manipulation: homeowners. A class action complaint filed earlier this month in New York federal court claims borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages based on the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, paid more than they rightfully should have due... Continue Reading »

Actor Tommy 'Tiny' Lister to Plead Guilty in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Character actor Tommy "Tiny" Lister, who has appeared in films such as "Friday" and "Jackie Brown," has pleaded guilty to a multimillion dollar mortgage fraud scheme and faces up to five years in federal prison. Between November 2006 and June 2007, Lister, whose credits span approximately 100 movies and TV shows,... Continue Reading »

Whistleblowers Win $46.5 Million in Foreclosure Settlement

By James O'Toole NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Getting served with foreclosure papers made Lynn Szymoniak rich. While she couldn't have known it at the time, that day in 2008 led to her uncovering widespread fraud on the part of some of the country's biggest banks, and ultimately taking home $18 million as a result of her... Continue Reading »

Man's Alleged Loan Mod Scam Paid for Wife's Plastic Surgery

SALT LAKE CITY -- A man who owned a loan modification business in Lehi and St. George is being accused of defrauding homeowners to pay for personal expenses including entertainment and his wife's plastic surgery. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says 34-year-old David Shawn Moffitt faces nine felony counts of... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Fraud: California, New York Rank Highest, Report Says

By Kerri Panchuk Mortgage fraud activity slowed overall in the third quarter, but California ranks first in home loan fraud, with the state seeing as much as $204.2 million in losses on deceptive mortgage activity. That's according to a new report from MortgageDaily, which found that lenders victimized by fraud faced... Continue Reading »

Mass. AG Breaks Ranks, Sues Big Banks Over Foreclosures

NEW YORK -- Massachusetts sued five major banks Thursday over deceptive foreclosure practices such as the "robo-signing" of documents, potentially undermining negotiations between lenders and state prosecutors across the nation over the same issue. The lawsuit named Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells... Continue Reading »

Feds Widen Inquiry of Online Mortgage Scams

SAN FRANCISCO -- A criminal investigation into mortgage swindlers has expanded beyond deceptive advertising on Google's Internet search engine to root out con artists who were luring their victims on Bing and Yahoo, too. Monday's news of the widening probe confirmed that the Internet's three largest search engines had... Continue Reading »

Feds Target Loan Mod Scams, With Google's Cooperation

The federal government has shut down 85 alleged online loan modification scams, and secured the cooperation of Google to stop the purportedly false advertising by those web operations. The government agency responsible for supervising the use of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds recently targeted businesses that... Continue Reading »

Teenager Owes $600,000 in Mortgage Loans After ID Theft

Seventeen-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., resident Caitlin "Caitie" Hemmerle is up to her eyeballs in debt, including owing $600,000 in mortgage loans and another $100,000 in car loans and credit cards. How did this happen? Easy. Caitie is a victim of child identity theft, a practice that is growing for one simple reason:... Continue Reading »

Housing Counselor Caught Stealing Mortgage Mod Payments

Lori Macakanja, a former housing counselor in Dunkirk, N.Y., pleaded guilty this week to mail fraud and theft of government money meant for modifying delinquent mortgages. Some 136 clients of her company, HomeFront Inc., gave Macakanja a combined $300,000 for promised modifications. She used the money for her own use,... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Lawsuit Claims Banks Defrauded Military Vets

ATLANTA -- A whistleblower lawsuit launched in 2006 and unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Atlanta claims several large banks and mortgage companies defrauded military veterans and taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars in a "brazen scheme" to hide illegal fees. The lawsuit, brought under the Federal Claims... Continue Reading »

Foreclosure Rescue Scammers Busier -- and Trickier -- Than Ever

From the looks of the mortgage relief companies Christopher Mallett has marketed in recent years, offering lower payments and new loan terms to troubled homeowners, one might easily get the impression that he has the backing of the federal government or is running non-profit help groups. Mallett is the driving force... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Principles: BOA Forced to Pay Whistle-Blower $930,000

The Labor Department ordered Bank of America to reinstate and pay $930,000 to a employee, who was fired after reporting instances of possible fraud among Countrywide Financial Corp. employees. The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration division in San Francisco launched an investigation after a... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Fraud Scheme Targets Treasury Secretary

The housing boom and bust brought forth many accounts of mortgage fraud - but it's only recently that the absurdity of some schemes is coming to light. A 35 year-old Maryland man, Bryan Gardner, has been charged with successfully paying his $353,000 Citibank mortgage with a false money order backed from then Secretary... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Fraud Reports Rise Sharply

Years have passed since the housing crisis first brought the U.S. economy to the brink, but reports of mortgage fraud are only increasing -- up 31 percent in the first quarter of 2011, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a Treasury bureau that tracks illegal financial activity. In a report released... Continue Reading »

Old Scam Targets Homeowners Who've Refinanced

Listen up, mortgagees: Did you hear the one about the new company that's going to service your refinanced loan? It's just a step away from the Nigerian royal who needs your help and is willing to give you half his fortune for just a few thousand dollars of your nest egg. In a mortgage-related scam currently making the... Continue Reading »

Mortgage Fraud Hits New High

While homeowners suffer in a depressed housing market, one group is doing very well: mortgage fraudsters. According to a new report from the Lexis Nexis Mortgage Asset Research Institute, fraud and misrepresentation in the mortgage market reached record proportions in 2010, costing an estimated $1.5 billion. All told, the... Continue Reading »

Penalized Mortgage Lenders Allowed to Police Themselves

Federal bank regulators are going easy on the nation's 14 largest mortgage firms, despite a stern order for those firms to compensate homeowners whose residences were improperly foreclosed upon. In their decision, federal agencies detailed goals for reform at the penalized lenders, but the banks are being permitted to... Continue Reading »

Army Sergeant Battles Mortgage Servicer -- and Wins

A Georgia homeowner was awarded $21 million in a lawsuit against one of the largest mortgage servicers in the nation. The homeowner, David Brash, a U.S. Army sergeant, claimed that PHH incorrectly reported his account as "seriously delinquent," when payments had been made on time through automatic deductions from his... Continue Reading »

H.L. Hunt's Great Grandson Hit With Mortgage Fraud

Al G. Hill III, the first great-grandchild of legendary Texas oilman H.L. Hunt (see photo below) -- once known as the richest man in America and who died in 1974 -- has been indicted in Dallas County on several felony counts of mortgage fraud for a home improvement loan of more than $200,000. Hill, 40, and his wife, Erin... Continue Reading »

Chicago: America's Mortgage Fraud Capital

In tough economic times, mortgage fraud runs rampant -- but in Chicago, it rules. John and Eloise Smith purchased their home on the South Side of Chicago in the early 1980s for $54,000, and lived there happily for nearly 25 years. But in 2005, circumstances began to change dramatically. They faced personal bankruptcy and... Continue Reading »

Foreclosure Rescue Scam Victims Get Their Day in Court

Who kicks a guy when he's down? During these hard financial times, unfortunately, lots of people. But today, one of the most frequently targeted groups, foreclosure victims, is getting a fair shake in civil court. Thanks to a Federal Trade Commission investigation, nearly 1,500 victims of foreclosure rescue scam fraud will... Continue Reading »

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