Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mortgage Fraud Problems in Southern Florida

From Reuters:

“But Doug Dewitt, a real estate broker contracted to work with several lenders on the valuation and disposal of foreclosed properties, said nearly 70 percent of the sales or closings at the Club over the last 18 months were questionable.

That works out to more than 200 possibly shady deals in a single building, he said.
The dubious transactions all fit a pattern that Theobald said should trigger ‘bells and whistles’ for law enforcement anywhere -- time and time again properties that failed to sell for months when listed at around $450,000 were pulled from the market and then suddenly sold for more than $800,000.

Florida leads the nation when it comes to mortgage fraud, according to the Virginia-based Mortgage Asset Research Institute, a group that works closely with the U.S. Mortgage Bankers Association.”

From South Florida Business Journal:

“The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida said investor Hugo Rodriguez, 52; Ronald Gordan Lichte, a 65-year-old mortgage broker; and his loan processor, Connie Marie Cullifer, 58, worked a scheme where Rodriguez would locate luxury condominiums and residential properties that were available for purchase, and Rodriguez and Lichte would then recruit and pay straw buyers and use their names, credit histories and signatures on mortgage loan documents to obtain financing to purchase the properties. John C. Kelley, 67, of Tampa, was also charged for allegedly acting as a straw buyer.”

From Miami Herald:

“Mayor Carlos Alvarez's Mortgage Fraud Task Force met Wednesday to discuss progress in the war on real estate fraud in South Florida, including draft legislation that would protect innocent homeowners from artificially high property taxes and the wiles of predatory lenders.”

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