Entries in Nebraska (3)

9:25AM

Omaha real estate investors charged with mortgage fraud

In the following press release Joe W. Stecher, United States Attorney for the District of Nebraska announced that Gerald Williams, age 48, and Judith Williams, age 48, both of Omaha, are charged in a 25-count Indictment. Count I of the Indictment charges that beginning on or about January 31, 2005, and continuing to on or about October 15, 2006, Gerald and Judith Williams, both real estate investors, conspired to defraud mortgage lenders and title companies for their own personal gain. The scheme to defraud included preparing and submitting false and fraudulent documents and statements to various mortgage lenders that ultimately resulted in obtaining financing in order to purchase several residential real estate properties in the Deer Creek residential housing subdivision in Omaha, Nebraska. False statements were also prepared and submitted to mortgage lenders and title companies closing the loans in order for them to receive funds from the loan proceeds. The maximum penalty for this count includes imprisonment of not more than 5 years, a fine of $250,000, 3 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

Counts II-XIII charge Gerald and Judith Williams with mail fraud from beginning no later than on or about January 31, 2005, and through on or about October 15, 2006. It is alleged Gerald and Judith Williams used the United States Postal Service for the purpose of executing a scheme to defraud various mortgage lenders and title companies. The maximum penalty for these counts is imprisonment of 30 years, a $1,000,000 fine, 5 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

Counts XIV-XXV charge Gerald and Judith Williams with wire fraud from beginning no later than on or about January 31, 2005, and through on or about October15, 2006. It is alleged Gerald and Judith Williams transmitted interstate bank wires for the purpose of executing a scheme to defraud various mortgage lenders and title companies.The maximum penalty for these counts is imprisonment of 30 years, a $1,000,000 fine, 5 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

 

12:41PM

Nebraska AG suing mortgage broker accused of falsifying closing docs

In the following press release Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and John Munn, Director of the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance (NDBF), today announced the State is suing Omaha-based Advantage Mortgage Service, Inc., a mortgage brokerage firm, and its principal owners and operators for predatory lending practices. The NDBF is also instituting license revocation proceedings.

“Advantage Mortgage preyed on Nebraskans who dreamed of providing better lives for their families,” Bruning said. “Instead, those families face a very real threat of losing their homes. We will not tolerate predatory lending in this state.”

Munn stated that this investigation and the ensuing legal action should alert Nebraskans to the importance of dealing with reputable lenders. “Loan applicants must feel comfortable shopping for a loan and seeking assistance so that they know what they are signing and understand the terms of their proposed loan,” Munn said.

Advantage Mortgage originates and refinances loans for private individuals, often targeting those with adjustable rate mortgages whose interest rates are rising dramatically. After the company originates the loans, a third-party lender actually secures them. Advantage Mortgage collects fees from both the consumer and the third-party lender for originating the loans.

NDBF investigation found Advantage Mortgage engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices in the origination and refinancing of home mortgage loans on behalf of its customers. Based on the Department’s investigation, the complaint alleges that Advantage Mortgage employed tactics such as falsifying closing documents, forging borrowers’ signatures on loan documents, and charging hidden and excessive brokerage fees to borrowers. The complaint also alleges that Advantage Mortgage loan officers made false representations to consumers concerning the length, duration and cost of refinancing their mortgages and that Advantage Mortgage failed to disclose material facts to its customers before it refinanced their loans. Bruning and Munn allege that the company presented a deceptive promotional spreadsheet to borrowers to demonstrate the “savings” consumers would see upon enrollment in Advantage’s programs. Instead, consumers were subjected to higher interest rates and paid as much or more per month to reduce their debt.

The State further alleges that Advantage Mortgage knowingly and illegally employed an individual convicted of felony financial crimes as one of its loan officers. The State claims that Advantage Mortgage authorized the loan officer to arrange over $11 million in mortgage loans between January 2004 and January 2006 and unjustly profited from the loan officer’s fraudulent behavior. The Department’s investigation discovered that, on at least one occasion, the suspect loan officer is believed to have forged a customer’s signature on a check and deposited the funds into his own personal account.

Advantage Mortgage is headquartered in Omaha, with branch offices located in Lincoln and Council Bluffs, Iowa. The civil complaint, filed in Lancaster County District Court yesterday, alleges that Advantage Mortgage and its owners and operators violated Nebraska’s Mortgage Bankers Registration and Licensing Act, Consumer Protection Act and Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The corporation was served with the lawsuit today. Advantage Mortgage is subject to fines in the amount of $2,000 per violation under Nebraska’s consumer protection laws, not including damages and injunctive orders.

Assistant Attorneys General Jeff Gaertig and Abigail Stempson are handling the case, along with Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance attorney Mike Cameron.

11:40AM

Former Nebraska realtor given prison sentence

In the following press release on September 20, 2006 United States Attorney Mike Heavican and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that Mary C. Larsen, 49, of Nehawka, Nebraska, was sentenced on September 18, 2006, for mail fraud. The Honorable Laurie Smith Camp sentenced Larsen to a 21-month term of imprisonment to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release. Larsen had pled guilty on an information in March 2006.

Larsen, a former real estate agent, acquired or assisted in the acquisition of seven residential properties in and near Omaha, Nebraska. The properties were obtained by means of false statements to various mortgage companies. The false statements included: false W-2s, which significantly inflated income; false employment verification forms reflecting employment when the purchaser was unemployed; falsely inflating the existing cash in various bank accounts; and representing that the homes were acquired as primary residences when in fact neither Larsen nor the purchaser had any intent to reside in the residence. Larsen also created a false cashier’s check and a false letter purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service purporting to release tax liens. The United States mail was used to convey these false statements to various lenders who issued the mortgages. Each of the homes has been foreclosed upon resulting in a loss of almost $300,000.00.

Click here to read the criminal information.