mortgage fraud: Was President Clinton the cause of the housing meltdown? - 03/03/08 08:35 AM
This isn't intended as an opinion post, nor is it intended to inform.  It's intended only to provoke thought and to draw attention to Gene Wunderlich's new group: Mortgage, Foreclosure & Elder Abuse Housing Fraud. I plan on contributing a significant number of short posts featuring links to facts and opinions about mortgage fraud, foreclosure statistics, the housing meltdown, etc. that you won't find aggregated in any other place. BusinessWeek had an article last week that bashed the Clinton administration for abusing public policy, visa vie HUD, to intentionally inflate domestic housing statistics. It's an interesting perspective when you think about … (14 comments)

mortgage fraud: Checking in with my AR friends - 03/02/08 09:25 AM
The photos on the sideboard were taken at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, located north of Tucson, where I spent several wonderful days this past week.  I was invited by my new friends at TitleServ National to give a presentation on leveraging the power of relationships.  It was a great opportunity and a great time.
The use of photos in my blogging efforts is a new direction for me.  I've noticed that Tom Peters does it and decided to experiment with the concept on Title-opoly.  I'm thinking that photos from my travels might personalize the site making it more interesting for readers. … (16 comments)

mortgage fraud: A Recipe for Unmitigated Disaster - 11/23/07 06:13 PM
Earlier today, Lenn Harley posted California Subprime Borrowers May Get Relief? - More Questions Than Answers.   It's Lenn's insightful commentary to posts written by Bryant Tutas and Gena Riede concerning the frightful number of looming foreclosures in certain markets.  Specifically, Gena emphasized the concerned efforts of California's governor to offer some relief to borrowers in serious financial distress.  The governor of Massachusetts was the first to offer a plan of sorts earlier this year.  While the initiative shown by state governments to confront the foreclosure epidemic is laudable, I doubt that localized efforts can pack the punch needed to make an … (35 comments)

mortgage fraud: The Silent Second: Unfettered Sleaze - 11/18/07 05:51 PM
Silent seconds (mortgages) are seemingly gaining popularity to accommodate an exaggerated need to make "deals work."  I wrote a post last week, The Cult of the Morally Deficient, in response to a loan originator's comment that he had recently confronted silent seconds in a number of proposed transactions.  The comment was made to a post, The "Silent Second" Revisited!, that appeared on Active Rain nearly a year ago.  It continues to receive random remarks that are nothing short of startling and disturbing. Just days ago, a middle aged, first time homeowner presented a scenario that I won't soon forget.  Having participated … (18 comments)

mortgage fraud: The Cult of the Morally Deficient - 11/10/07 02:02 PM
There seems to be something of a "collective subconscious" among those who would perpetrate mortgage fraud.  The notorious schemes of the past that resulted in "highly-publicized" criminal convictions have a strange and bothersome tendency to resurface.  Most interesting is the innate quality of an illegal concept to migrate from coast to coast with inordinate speed and efficiency.   At times, the mechanics of the fraud are morphed tangentially to add a layer of deceit and confusion.  At other times, the original schemes are boldly resurrected by fraudsters who apparently suffer with cerebral dysfunction or an inherent desire for incarceration. A "self … (41 comments)

mortgage fraud: Limited Powers of Attorney: Borrowers Beware! - 10/14/07 09:12 PM
I was recently asked by the National Notary Association to endorse one of its initiatives.  Borrowers, I've learned, are sometimes asked to sign a Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) authorizing a title company employee to sign loan documents on their behalf. Though the request may originate from good intentions, it points to a path fraught with peril for unwitting consumers.  The practice, questionable at best and patently deceitful at times, raises substantive issues that need to be addressed.The National Notary Association has voiced its concerns by publishing two separate documents, Fact Sheet: Limited Powers of Attorney and Limited Powers of Attorney: … (80 comments)

mortgage fraud: The Ambiguous Face of Greed - 07/10/07 04:26 PM
Regrettably, many people have come to identify Matthew Cox as the face of greed in the industry.  I'm pretty sure that everyone reading this post has heard of him.  While it's true Cox is an infamous and notorious criminal, his profile more closely resembles that of a street thug than it does the typical white collar criminal. 
The truth about real estate fraud is hidden in countless files, in countless offices, in countless cities and towns across the nation.
A recent arrest in California accurately illustrates the fraud that routinely infects real estate transactions.  A 34 year old woman stands accused of … (30 comments)

mortgage fraud: My Thoughts on Mortgage Fraud and Foreclosure - 07/07/07 04:25 PM
The historical correlation between the economy and foreclosure rates is amazingly weak. I've spent several days compiling and studying foreclosure statistics from the 1950's through the present. You would think unemployment numbers would have a direct effect on foreclosure trends nationally. They don't.
Interest rates undeniably trigger defaults among contemporary products like adjustable rate and subprime mortgages.
But, researchers struggled unsuccessfully to link an external causation factor, prior to 1990, to the non-payment of conforming loan products.
Subprime, or risk based, mortgages have been widely available to consumers for only 15 years or so. Since the mid 1990's, a … (19 comments)

mortgage fraud: An Angry Consumer is a Formidable Opponent - 06/28/07 09:47 AM
I received an email recently from a woman who had read my Active Rain posts.  From her message, I gleaned that a lender had taken advantage of her during a refinance transaction.  I receive similar emails fairly often, but somehow this one was different.   The lady's name is Paula and she wasn't looking for an elixir to somehow solve a serious problem.  She had already taken a stand and had decided to make a difference.  Paula had written to tell me about her newly launched web-site. 
That's right, a site hosted by an angry consumer who is fighting back. Before … (36 comments)

mortgage fraud: Mortgage Fraud: Fact versus Fiction - 06/25/07 11:43 AM
A research phase would be the best way to describe the state of affairs in my office these days.  Mortgage fraud statistics are dynamic, moving targets.  Many of you want to know the truth about mortgage fraud, but find it difficult to stay informed. The data is available, but is distributed in fragments, in numerous reports, studies, publications, and news articles.  I'd like to share some of the core definitions and facts with you.DefinitionsMortgage Fraud:   Any material misrepresentation in a loan application that influences a mortgage lender to approve an application ... that would have otherwise been declined.  The term material … (25 comments)

mortgage fraud: Inner City Wall Art: Creative Expression or Vandalism? - 06/21/07 07:09 PM
I spent much of the day visiting inner city properties that were flipped within the last two years or so.  Like it or not, a property that has been acquired "low" and quickly resold "high" is very likely to go to foreclosure.  There is also an undeniable statistical correlation between flipped properties and mortgage fraud.  Studies conducted by legitimate researchers have proven these facts time and time again.
Many of you have asked that I write posts about mortgage fraud, particularly my own experiences and the experiences shared with me by real estate insiders. 
I've decided to post a short series … (19 comments)

mortgage fraud: A Builder's Special Incentive: My Response to Today's Earlier Post - 06/10/07 05:42 PM
Earlier today, I asked for your collective opinion regarding a builders' rebate.  The willingness of the Active Rain community to contribute will never cease to amaze me.  I've spent the day preparing for two upcoming presentations in Florida and now have better and more relevant information than I could have gathered in any other manner.  Thank you.  My gratitude is heart felt.
The scenario in the initial post developed around a builder who solicits buyers by agreeing to make a year's worth of mortgage payments.  The questions arise from the ability of the builder to make the concessions legally.   Full disclosure, … (32 comments)

mortgage fraud: A Builder's Special Incentive ... Your Opinions Please - 06/10/07 10:40 AM
Scenario:  A builder actively solicits buyers by agreeing to make their first 12 house payments. The buyers are given a lump sum at closing to use when making the payments.  Like most builders, this one has assembled a team of trusted professionals comprised of a title company, loan officer, and listing broker. The money is migrated from builder to buyer in a creative way.  In one specific example, a commission of 13% was intentionally charged to the builder on the settlement sheet even though the actual commission paid was only 6%.  After closing, the difference between the 2 commission amounts was … (138 comments)

mortgage fraud: In the beginning ... - 05/20/07 12:26 PM
Last week, I wrote about the mortgage fraud concerns that were shared anonymously by title agents during the past month.  Click here to view previous post.  In keeping with the spirit of the Active Rain community, your assistance was selflessly offered when I asked for it.  Your outpouring of support was both overwhelming and greatly appreciated.  I apologize that I haven't had the opportunity to respond to everyone who sent an email.  I will ... it's a promise.
I spent yesterday morning categorizing the information provided to date.  My original thought was to provide an educational resource in the form of a … (17 comments)

mortgage fraud: Mortgage Fraud: Questions and Answers - 05/16/07 11:37 AM
I want to share my latest project with members of Active Rain.   I'm very excited because it has the potential for broad and positive implications.  The concept was born of the need for title agents to remain anonymous while asking questions about mortgage fraud. Over the past several weeks while giving fraud presentations in Michigan, we experimented by offering index cards to audience members who were encouraged to ask any question, or discuss any topic, without fear of incrimination or embarrassment.  The results were nothing short of impressive.  We now have a library of questions and comments offering a glimpse … (55 comments)

mortgage fraud: Statistical Fiction? - 02/17/07 08:35 PM
I'd like to publicly thank Rich Jacobson and Mark Flanders for extending an invitation to contribute to their excellent site, SoundBiteBlog.com.  I remain humbled by the abundance of kind comments.
The crux of this evening's post is a noteworthy matter that has escaped the attention of writers here at Active Rain.
October Research recently released the results of a research project intended to study the effects of industry collaboration on propety values.   Of the 1,200 appraisers surveyed nationwide, 90 percent admitted feeling pressured by realtors, mortgage brokers and others to inflate values to levels needed to make deals work.  Threats of negative business consequences for lack of cooperation … (21 comments)

mortgage fraud: DECISIONS - 01/24/07 07:27 PM
WHEN ONE HUD 1 JUST ISN'T ENOUGH
You're scheduled to close tomorrow and call your title company to ask for a faxed settlement sheet.  You discover that the buyer needs $500 more than she expected or has saved.  The listing agent tells you that the seller is willing to contribute the entire amount.  Your friend at the title company suggests that he prepare two settlement sheets.  One is for the lender only who doesn't know that the buyer is short of funds.   The other reflects the actual numbers between buyers and sellers.  What do you do?
A common fallacy to avoid at all costs … (6 comments)

mortgage fraud: The Face of Greed - 01/07/07 03:05 PM
Yesterday, Slava Makler wrote an excellent post concerning identity theft and Florida refinances, "Homeowner Identity Thieves."  Last year I heard about a similar situation in Georgia.
On May 30, 2006 a 30 year old Atlanta woman was arrested in connection with an FBI sting operation and charged with mail and wire fraud among other federal crimes.  The same woman was free on bail following another arrest earlier the same year.  On February 17, 2006 she was arrested at a closing table as part of a different FBI sting where the stolen identity of a disabled retiree was used in an attempt to … (2 comments)

mortgage fraud: 2007 from my perspective - 01/07/07 08:10 AM
I'm admittedly concerned about the real estate and mortgage fraud outlook for 2007 after considering the developments of the past year.  Real estate and mortgage fraud is a complicated issue presenting a spectrum of societal challenges in the form of costs and consequences.  Industry leaders express grave concern without revealing a concise and cohesive strategy to combat the epidemic.  The U.S. Justice Department continues a misguided agenda of prosecuting mostly "notorious" fraudsters in metropolitan areas.  State and local authorities often recognize the existence of a problem, but lack the resources to confront this sophisticated form of theft.  As a matter of … (2 comments)

mortgage fraud: Real Estate Fraud Tele-Conference - 01/02/07 07:35 PM
Earlier this evening, I participated in an hour long tele-conference hosted by "Active Rainer," Ralph Roberts.  The conference dealt specifically with real estate fraud featuring a panel of expert speakers along with a number of victimized consumers.  It's my understanding that Ralph is going to do a similar conference on the first Tuesday of every month at 7 PM, EST.
The tele-conference afforded a real world learning experience that I found very valuable and recommend highly.  If anyone is interested in attending future events, let me know and I will be happy to put you in touch with the staff at Ralphs office.
(2 comments)

 



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