10:17AM

Dublin attorney enters guilty plea to charge of misprision of felony 

US DOJ Press Release - February 4, 2005

SAVANNAH, GA: Lisa Godbey Wood, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced today that Swain Alvin Lewis, an attorney in Dublin, Georgia, has entered a guilty plea to a Criminal Information in United States District Court in Augusta, Georgia, before U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen, Jr. Lewis was charged with misprision of felony in connection with a scheme to defraud a mortgage lender.

Read the Felony Information here and the Plea Agreement here

Lewis pled to a charge that, from August 2003 to September 2003, he knowingly concealed a scheme by a mortgage broker and others to defraud a mortgage lender, Ameritrust of Charlotte, NC. Those involved in the scheme falsely represented that the persons applying for loans with the lender were seeking “refinance” loans rather than original purchase loans. By characterizing the loans in this way, the mortgage broker and others involved in this scheme were able to conceal the actual purchase price of the properties and falsely persuade the lender that the properties were more valuable than they actually were.

The participants in the scheme were thus able to generate numerous commissions and fees for loans that would have otherwise been declined by the lender. Lewis helped to conceal the scheme by falsely indicating to the lender that the borrowers owned title to the properties allegedly being “refinanced” even though he knew that those individuals were not the actual titleholders of the properties in question.

Lewis faces up to three years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both, and up to one year of supervised release. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

3:36PM

Mitchellville , MD man sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in fraud scheme 

US DOJ Press Release  - Friday, February 4, 2005

Washington, D.C. - United States Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein, Michael A. Mason, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Jack P. Higgins, Jr., Inspector General for the United States Department of Education, jointly announced that Diallo Cobham, a 29-year-old resident of Mitchellville, Maryland, was sentenced yesterday to a prison term of 30 months by United States District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who also required the defendant to pay over $9,000 in restitution. Cobham previously pled guilty to a charge of wire fraud relative to his role in defrauding a mortgage company. His fraud was part of a larger scheme to wrongfully divert and spend money from the United States Department of Education (DOE).

According to the government’s proffer at the time of defendant’s plea, with which defendant agreed, Children’s Cottage, Inc. (“Children’s Cottage”) was a children’s day care center incorporated and licensed by the State of Maryland to operate at 5507 46th Avenue in Riverdale, Maryland (the “Riverdale Property”). Children’s Cottage was controlled by defendant’s mother, Beberly D. Cobham.

DMD Enterprises, Inc. (“DMD Enterprises”) was a real estate and entertainment company controlled by the defendant. The defendant maintained a Bank of America account in the name of DMD Enterprises (“DMD account”). His mother also used the DMD account as a business account for Children’s Cottage. Specifically, his mother used the DMD account to pay the salary for the Children’s Cottage employees.
On or about April 7, 2000, the defendant signed certain paperwork to purchase the Riverdale Property for his mother. At settlement, his mother provided a check to pay for the property in its entirety. The defendant knew that it was unlikely that his mother could get a loan for the Riverdale Property without misrepresenting certain facts in the loan paperwork. The defendant also knew that his mother’s home was subject to imminent foreclosure as a result of his mother’s failure to pay her home mortgage.

Some time thereafter, in the Spring of 2000, the defendant went to the bank to withdraw money. The bank teller told the defendant that the FBI was investigating the account whose assets were now frozen. The defendant asked his mother why the account was frozen. His mother replied that she had done something wrong and would take care of everything.

On June 22, 2000, the defendant applied for a loan in his name from Capitol City Mortgage. His mother told the defendant that the funds from the loan would be used to make the back-payments on his mother’s home mortgage. The collateral for the loan was the Riverdale Property.
To receive the loan, the defendant and his mother met with a mortgage broker in Lanham, Maryland. The defendant signed the credit application and certified that the information in the application was accurate. The loan application falsely stated that he earned $43,000 per year as a Stop & Shop manager. While completing the loan paperwork, the defendant saw bogus W-2 forms, which purportedly showed that the defendant had earned $40,000 per year. Although the defendant did have access to the DMD account, he never withdrew any sum of money remotely approximating $40,000 from the DMD account. Moreover, he never received a paycheck from his mother. The defendant knew that the W-2 forms were fraudulent.

After the defendant signed the credit application, the credit application was sent by facsimile from the broker’s office in Lanham, Maryland to Capitol City Mortgage in Washington, D.C. After the loan paperwork was faxed, the defendant received in his name approximately $75,000 from Capitol City Mortgage. The funds from the loan were wired by Capitol City Mortgage into the DMD account.

1:21PM

Cleric, wife face additional charges including Mortgage Fraud

A Superseding Indictment filed by Federal Prosecutors in Philadelphia lists charges against Shamsud-din Ali and others. part of the indictment charges Ali with filing false employment documents (W2’s and paystub) in order to obtain a Home Equity Line of Credit from Chase Mortgage.

These charges can be found at  Counts 49 -55 (pages 122 & 123).

Click here for the Indictment

This story was also carried in the Philadelphia Enquirer and Philadelphia Daily News and last year there were other stories that can be found on Google or Yahoo searches

11:24AM

Lenders license revoked

NY Dept of Banking Weekly Bulletin  - w/e February 4, 2005

The following licensed Mortgage Banker failed to demonstrate and maintain a line of credit in an amount of not less than $1,000,000 provided by an unaffiliated banking institution, insurance company, or a similar credit facility approved by the Superintendent, in violation of Part 410.1(b)(2) of the Superintendent’s Regulations. Subsequent to a hearing, the Superintendent has issued an Order to revoke its mortgage banker license.

February 02, 2005 (MB-MBD)
Greenfield Mortgage, Inc.
2 Speedwell Ave., 21 Headquarters Plz. W Tower-2 Fl., Morristown, NJ 07960
Effective Date: January 19, 2005

9:21AM

U.S. authorities say mortgage customers paid too much 

Democrat and Chronicle - February 2, 2005

Criminal Complaint

In a story by Gary Craig in the Democrat and Chronicle and from the Complaint filed by the US Postal Inspection Service it is alleged that a mortgage broker and two title agency workers conspired to bilk customers out of thousands of dollars by fraudulently inflating costs at closings, federal authorities allege.

Federal prosecutors on Monday criminally charged two workers with Pogal Title Agency Inc — agency owner Janet Faticone and employee Ronald DiPonzio — with mail fraud. Mortgage broker Denise Strollo of Professional Mortgage Group has not been criminally charged; prosecutors said the investigation was continuing.

U.S. Postal Inspector Michelle Mann alleged in court documents that several customers paid more than $2,000 more at closing that they should have. In one case, a customer paid nearly $5,000 in costs, when the real fees totaled $1,277, Mann alleged.

The three would mail accurate statements to the banks, and forge customers’ signatures on those statements, authorities alleged. A least 40 customers were defrauded in 2004, authorities claimed.

Authorities also alleged that the three people developed and executed other fraud schemes, including tacking on fees to programs that allowed customers to pay off their mortgages more quickly than scheduled. Those fees weren’t disclosed to customers, prosecutors said.

9:04AM

Lender files Civil Law suit alleging fraud

In November 2003 First Guaranty Mortgage Corp filed a civil complaint alleging fraud which, according to Court Records has not yet been settled, against the following Maryland people and companies:

JOHN BRYANT ; BRYANT ENTERPRISES, INC.; MONICA SILVER; RE/MAX ONE; R & M APPRAISAL SERVICES, L.L.C.; RONALD BRVENIK; VALERIE BORDERS; BRENDAN REILLY; LYNN KROMMINGA; CONROY, BALLMAN AND DAMERON; SCOTT DAVIS; JERVIS BRYANT and ERIC A. PATTERSON

You can read the complaint by clicking here.

This story is linked to the previous entry from Jan 24, 2005

8:19AM

Poconos home builder is charged in real estate fraud investigation 

The Morning Call  – February 3, 2005

Matt Birkbeck wrote in the Morning Call that charges have been laid against Keith Kunz, a Monroe County builder alleging a wide range of frauds including false and inflated down payments.

This is yet another fraud in the Poconos with Detective Eric Kerchner of the Monroe County DAs office stating that there were separate investigations targeting at least six other builders.

”This is a very, very active investigation,” he said.

The expanding scope and breadth of the county investigation forced the hiring of another detective, Kerchner said. ”The majority of our files are builder-related,” he said.

As soon as the indictment is available it will be posted here along with any further news.

7:37AM

Erie County financial planner admits to larceny and fraud 

New York Attorney General Press Release 

Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced on January 21, 2005 that an Erie County financial planner has pleaded guilty to three felony charges stemming from a scheme which took advantage of elderly victims.

The defendant, Randall Cedrik, 43, a financial planner from Angola, pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class “D” felony, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class “E” felony and Fraud in the Sale of Securities, a Class “E” felony. Judge Michael L. D’Amico accepted the plea and scheduled sentencing for March 18 in Erie County Court. Cedrik will be sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison.

At today’s appearance, Cedrik admitted that he made false representations to convince several elderly people to invest vast sums of their savings in his company, Global Assets Consulting. According to court records, he encouraged some of his clients to secure home equity loans to fund additional investments. To induce these investments he guaranteed a return on investment of 8.25 percent as well as a partial interest in his company.

“The criminal resolution of this matter brings the anticipated recovery of $457,844 to three elderly investors and sends a message that unscrupulous activity by investment advisors will not be tolerated,” Spitzer said.