Posts Tagged ‘mortgage fraud’

IRS Agent One Of Fourteen People Arrested For Tax Fraud

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Yet another lesson in not messing with the Tax Man…..

According to US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, fourteen people – including an employee of the Internal Revenue Service – have been charged with using the first-time homebuyers government credit to commit tax fraud.

Mostly from Massachusetts, the defendants were charged in multiple indictments all related to filing false tax returns linked to the federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

The IRS agent charged in the case, 44-year-old Michael Doyle, is from New Hampshire and is accused of falsely claiming that he purchased a home in 2008 so that he would qualify for the credit, when in reality he actually bought the property in 2007.

An official with the IRS could not say whether or not Michael Doyle still has his job, and Doyle could not be reached for comment.

The other defendants include Junior Lopez of Southbridge, and Christopher Proe of Michigan, who allegedly filed more than 50 fraudulent tax returns. According to prosecutors, they received about $500,000 in refunds.

Like Michael Doyle, neither Lopez nor Proe could be reached for comment.

In a prepared statement, Ortiz said, “It is critically important that taxpayers who play by the rules do not end up paying for refunds to people who commit fraud and blatantly lie on the forms submitted to the IRS.”

J. Russell George, the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, added in his own statement that it is “especially troubling” when an IRS agent is implicated in a fraud case. “Congress created and modified the home buyer credit to stimulate and help taxpayers achieve the America Dream, not to line the pockets of wrongdoers,” he said.

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U.S. Foreclosure Filings Down Slightly In First Half Of 2010

Monday, July 19th, 2010

According to a new report by RealtyTrac, property foreclosures filings in the United States dropped 5% during the first half of 2010; this is due to lenders continuing to delay foreclosure proceedings so they can focus on short sales and load modification efforts.

The same report states that over the past six months, more than 1.6 million homes have received at least one filing, such as default notices, auction sale notices, and bank repossessions. So while foreclosures filings were down slightly during the first half of the year, there is still an abundant amount.

There is growing concern that a backlog of homes in line for foreclosure could build up, which may result in a double dip in the market when said homes are dumped at some future date.

The chief executive of RealtyTrac, James Saccacio, contends that at the current pace, more than 3 million properties will receive foreclosure filings by the end of this year; leaving lenders to repossess more than 1 million of them.

“The roller coaster pattern of foreclosure activity over the past 12 months demonstrates that while the foreclosure problem is being managed on the surface, a massive number of distressed properties and underwater loans continues to sit just below the surface, threatening the fragile stability of the housing market,” Saccacio said.

Saccacio continued, “The second quarter was a tale of two trends. The pace of properties entering foreclosure slowed as lenders pre-empted or delayed foreclosure proceedings on delinquent properties with more aggressive short sale and loan modification initiatives. Meanwhile the pace of properties completing the foreclosure process through bank repossession quickened as lenders cleared out a backlog of distressed inventory delayed by foreclosure prevention efforts in 2009.”

For all the numbers and figures of the RealtyTrac report, visit PropertyWire.com: Property foreclosure filings in US down slightly in the first half of 2010.

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Down Slightly In First Half Of 2010
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Convictions Upheld For East Bay Mortgage Scam Artists

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

In 2007 Dale Scott Heineman of Union City and Kurt Johnson of Sunnyvale were convicted on one count each of conspiracy and 34 counts each of mail fraud stemming from their fraudulent business practices while operating the Dorean Group in Union City and Newark from 2003 to 2005. The pair pocketed millions of dollars by claiming they could help people eliminate mortgage debts.

In early 2008 Kurt Johnson was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison, while his partner Dale Scott Heineman got 21 years and 8 months.

Prosecutors said Johnson and Heineman victimized at least 20 lenders and as many as 3,500 homeowners across 35 states with their idea that borrowers could ditch their mortgage debts through a legal and bureaucratic process. Homeowners first transferred their interest in their properties to a trust, naming Johnson and Heineman as trustees. The pair would then send demand notices to the lenders questioning the validity of their lending practices.

When banks failed to respond or “prove” their lending practices were valid, the pair recorded bogus documents with county clerks’ offices supposedly establishing that the homes were no longer under a mortgage. The homeowners then refinanced with different banks using their supposedly unencumbered homes as collateral.

Heineman and Johnson took upfront fees as well as a cut of the homeowners’ new equity loans; they admitted making more than $3 million, and were later ordered to pay almost $513,000 in restitution.

FULL ARTICLE

On Tuesday July 6th 2010 a federal appeals court issued the decision to uphold the convictions.

In the ruling, Judge Barry Silverman of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote:

“[Heineman and Johnson] were adamant in their desire to represent themselves and assert an absurd legal theory wrapped up in Uniform Commercial Code gibberish…Both defendants were examined by a psychiatrist and found to have no diagnosable mental disorder.”

…“The record clearly shows that the defendants are fools, but that is not the same as being incompetent,” Silverman wrote for himself and two other circuit judges. “(T)hey had the right to represent themselves and go down in flames if they wished, a right the district court was required to respect. There was no legal or medical basis to foist a lawyer on them against their will.”

So basically these two scam artists are idiots and deserve to be right where they are – behind bars.

convictions upheld for east bay mortgage scam artists

Adam Hochfelder Pleads Guilty To Swindling Millions

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Once considered a Manhattan real estate whiz, 39-year-old Adam Hochfelder admitted on Friday that he scammed banks and private investors – including his own uncle – out of millions and millions of dollars.

Adam Hochfelder, a former part-owner of the Helmsley Building, pleaded guilty to stealing $18 million from 15 victims. Hochfelder began duping innocent people out of their money in 2002 as a way to pay for his extravagant Manhattan lifestyle; originally Hochfelder blamed his excessive greed on a cocaine habit.

Hochfelder pled guilty to 18 separate counts, including grand larceny and scheme to defraud.

When sentenced on September 7th, Adam Hochfelder will face 4 to 12 years in prison, as well as a $9.5 million bill for restitution.

According to Hochfelder’s lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, Hochfelder has returned $15 million to his victims. Agnifilo adds that the restitution his client will pay includes interest on loans he took out fraudulently, including $5 million loans from both North Fork Bank and Bank of America.

Adam Hochfelder admitted the loans were taken out against a property located on Park Avenue, and that he failed to tell the banks the home was already heavily leveraged. He also stole millions from private investors – including $700,000 from his father’s brother – telling them their money would be invested in real estate deals.

Sadly, this sort of thing is going on all across the country – it’s nice to see swindlers get their comeuppance.

adam hochfelder guilty grand larceny

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Forensic Loan Audits – A Cautionary Tale

Friday, March 19th, 2010

In desperate times, people take desperate measures – and often times it’s the kind hearted and well intentioned people who get burned.

Please read the story below as a cautionary tale. It’s yet another reminder of the creeps out there chomping at the bit to take advantage of those in most need of honest help.

Keith Tinney, along with 15 other Stockton, CA residents just wanted a little help modifying their home loans. They met with Paul Killmar who said he would conduct a “forensic loan audit” and find where the banks violated mortgage agreements, thus providing the borrower with ammunition when trying to obtain a loan modification.

There are good people out there who can actually help, but there are so many bad people sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart. Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The 66-year-old Tinney took Killmar on his word, and was ultimately milked out of $2,900.

… Tinney leads a list of 15 Stockton residents who allege a Southern California man named Paul Killmar bilked them for more than a combined $50,000 by charging upfront fees for forensic loan audits on their mortgages. There could be others, too.

So-called forensic loan audits promise to find where banks have violated their end of mortgage agreements, with providers saying they scour the fine print on the loan documents. Struggling homeowners are told they can use that information to pressure their lender into some type of loan modification.

In late February, state Attorney General Jerry Brown called forensic loan audits “phony mortgage relief services,” and warned against the scam.

Upfront fees for mortgage relief help have also been outlawed.

Those warnings came too late for Tinney and at least 14 other Stockton residents who were referred to Killmar through Stockton businessman Claes Carlsson, who runs the financial services company Asset Invest.

Carlsson says he was as shocked by the scam as his clients and cut off his referrals after receiving complaints. But he did convince some of his clients they could find help through Killmar.

Finish Reading SCAM WARNING TOO LATE FOR MANY by Keith Reid -Record Staff Writer; March 18, 2010 12:00 AM

Contact reporter Keith Reid at (209) 546-8257 or kreid@recordnet.com.

Four Family Members Charged In $16 Million Real Estate Fraud Conspiracy

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

The Orange County, CA District Attorney’s office has announced they have charged four family members –
including a mother and her two daughters – in a conspiracy to commit more than 16 million dollars worth of
real estate fraud by forging documents and buying homes using straw buyers*.

If convicted, each of the four defendants could be facing as much as 19 to 40 years in prison.

Here’s what we know about each defendant, and the charges being brought against them:

Sushama Devi Lohia, 71, Newport Beach
Felony charges include 13 counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, 19 counts of forgery, 6 counts of identity theft and 4 counts of recording false and forged instrument and other charges. She is the mother of defendants Supriti Soni and Suniti Shah.

Supriti Soni, 49, Corona del Mar
Felony charges include eight counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, 10 counts of forgery and other charges. In addition, prosecutors are seeking a stiffer sentence for her, if she’s convicted, because she was imprisoned in 2003 for perjury.

Suniti Shah, 48, Newport Beach
Felony charges include five counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, nine counts of forgery, six felony counts of identity theft, four counts of recording a false and forged instrument and other charges.

Dinesh Valjeebhai Shah, 60, Newport Beach
Felony charges include two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, four counts of forgery, four counts of
identity theft, four counts of recording a false and forged instrument and other charges. He is Suniti Shah’s
husband.

According to prosecutors, the alleged scheme happened like this:

-Between June 2006 and October 2009, Lohia, Soni, Suniti Shah and Dinesh Shah obtained 54 fraudulent loans on 29 properties in Orange County through the use of straw buyers’ credit.

-The four defendants then fabricated loan applications to reflect significantly higher incomes for the straw
buyers, supplying altered bank statements to reflect the higher incomes, falsifying employer information on
loan documents and forging the names and signatures of straw buyers on various deeds and loan documents.

-They used the personal and credit information of the straw buyers to complete the fraudulent documents used in obtaining loans, as well as took fraudulent loans under their own names.

-The 54 loans were all approved by then-Washington Mutual Bank.

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It’s scary out there – and in desperate times, people make desperate decisions.

Always play it safe by being cautious when meeting with a new Realtor or Lender, and ask all the questions you can think of – even if you think they’re silly or will make you look stupid.

Scammers feed off ignorance and fear, so be sure to gather all the information you can before making any
choice of this magnitude.

Remember to go with your gut. If what your hearing sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

*A straw buyer is a person who uses or allows their credit to be used for the purchase of a property they never intend to use or control. Straw buyers can also be used to purchase non-owner occupied properties by being paid simply for the use of their credit. [source]


Clipart from Clipartheaven.com