Mortgage Servicing Fraud
occurs post loan origination when mortgage servicers use false statements and book-keeping entries, fabricated assignments, forged signatures and utter counterfeit intangible Notes to take a homeowner's property and equity.
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ThisIsACrime!
Op-Ed Columnist

A Swarm of Swindlers

Published: November 20, 2007

Chicago

Like vultures, the mortgage lenders began circling the single-family house with the tiny front lawn on Merrill Avenue.

They knew that the woman who owned the house was old and sick and that her two aging daughters were struggling with illness and poverty as well. That was all to the good as far as the lenders were concerned. The predator’s mission is to home in on the vulnerable.

“The people that wanted to put through the loan called me about a hundred times,” said Rosa Dailey, who is 65 and going blind and needs an oxygen tank at times to help her breathe. “I kept telling them no, because I didn’t think we could afford it. But they kept saying how it was to our advantage. So I finally said: ‘All right, let’s see what we can do.’ ”

That was the beginning of a tragic spiral, with one unaffordable loan following another. As Ms. Dailey put it: “I feel like they led me down a dark alley.”

Ms. Dailey told me her story in the freezing living room of the house on Merrill Avenue, which no longer has a working furnace and is growing shabbier by the day. It’s all she has left. Her mother and her older sister are dead now. Her only income is about $1,300 a month from Social Security — less than the monthly note on the house, which is in foreclosure proceedings.

One aspect of the so-called mortgage crisis that hasn’t been adequately explored is the extent to which predatory lenders have committed fraud against vulnerable homeowners. They have pushed overpriced loans and outlandish fees on hapless victims who didn’t understand — and could not possibly have met — the terms of the contracts they signed.

In some cases, corporate con artists have deliberately targeted and seized the equity of financially strapped and unsophisticated owners. In some cases, homes have been stolen outright.

This is an issue crying out for a thorough federal investigation.

Ms. Dailey and her sister, Betty Jones, agreed to refinance the mortgage on their ailing mother’s home in 2000. Neither understood how deeply into debt they were slipping. They struggled to make the payments and hang on to the house after their mother died, although neither was working and their only income was from Social Security. Then Ms. Jones was hospitalized with a heart condition.

As illogical as it may sound, the two women were pressed to refinance yet again in 2005. There was no way they could legitimately qualify for such a loan, and the lenders had to know it. But they persisted.

On Aug. 8, 2005, a representative of the Argent Mortgage Company took Ms. Dailey from the Merrill Avenue house to her sister’s bedside at Kindred Hospital. There the women signed papers for a loan that they were told would bring their monthly payments down to a manageable level.

Betty Jones was dying. Ms. Dailey’s eyesight was too poor to read the papers shoved in front of her. Both women were frightened and confused.

“I was told that was the only way I could save the house,” Ms. Dailey said.

Thousands of dollars in additional fees were heaped upon them. And the required monthly payment was more than they could possibly have afforded.

Betty Jones died the following December. Rosa Dailey was left with the sick realization that she had been had, that in her confusion and desperation she had agreed to terms that were impossible.

“I’m terrified,” Ms. Dailey told me as she wrapped a sweater tightly around her to ward off the cold. “I can’t sleep anymore. They’re trying to take the house away from me, and I wanted to stay here until I died. That was what I was really trying to do.”

A lawyer, William Spielberger, has taken up Ms. Dailey’s case. He said she and her sister were clear victims of fraud, that the companies pushing loans on them had deliberately inflated their meager incomes on the loan applications, had inflated the value of their property, had imposed unconscionable terms and fees and were fully aware that the two women did not know what they were getting into.

He has filed a federal lawsuit on Ms. Dailey’s behalf against a number of companies, including Citi Residential Lending, a subsidiary of Citigroup that acquired Argent Mortgage this past summer.

A spokeswoman for Citi Residential said she could not comment on the case because of the pending litigation.

I asked Rosa Dailey yesterday how she’d be spending her Thanksgiving. She said her money for the month had run out, so she wouldn’t be doing anything special.

“I’ll be right here,” she said. “I’ve got some corn flakes and canned vegetables. That’ll be my Thanksgiving.”

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interesting
I realize this is public info , but , I don't live in chicago .  how can we review this case ?  and actually see the complaint that is filed  ?   any help

thanks
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Recent federal pleadings, motions and related filings are generally accessible via PACER (to registered users for a small fee):

https://pacer.login.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl?court_id=00idx

 

It would appear that the case described in the article is probably:

 

Dailey v. Citi Residential Lending et al

Cause No. 1:07-cv-05426
Marvin E. Aspen, presiding

Northern District, Illinois

 

Plaintiff:  Rosa L. Dailey

Represented by: William F. Spielberger

Phone: (312) 938-4080
Email: bartleby.scriviner@sbcglobal.net

 

Defendants: Citi Residential Lending;  WM Specialty Mortgage; Integrity First Mortgage

 

Date filed: 09/26/2007

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O -
 
Big Thanks Mr Roper
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SayHelloToRICO

Former Mortgage Company Employees Charged in Multi-Million Dollar ...

The majority of the fraudulent loans were submitted through and funded by Argent Mortgage Company, one of the nation’s largest wholesale “sub-prime” ...
http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Press_Releases/20070719_Racketeering_Case.html - 22k - Cached - Similar pages

News Release

Former Mortgage Company Employees Charged in Multi-Million Dollar Racketeering Case

July 19, 2007

A  three-year joint investigation by the Tampa Police Department (TPD), Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency (HCCPA), Pinellas County Department of Justice and Consumer Services (PCDJCS), Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution (OSWP), and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has led to the arrests of five defendants charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, obtaining of a mortgage by false representation, and second-degree grand theft by fraudulently obtaining mortgages in the names of victims solicited for home improvement projects and for obtaining fraudulent loans on their own personal properties.  The individuals arrested include Scott Almeida, Orson Benn, Adrienne White, Frank Giffone, and Samuel Green. 

“The allegations brought against these individuals are unspeakable. To prey on the hopes and dreams of these people who were simply trying to improve their homes is a terrible scheme and my office is committed to prosecuting those involved to the fullest extent of the law,” said Attorney General Bill McCollum. “I commend the cooperation exhibited by this investigation and look forward to a positive resolution for the citizens who were victimized.”

"The FDLE is committed to working with our local and state partners to investigate these types of major fraudulent schemes," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey.  "It is important for us to send a message that this type of criminal behavior will not be tolerated in our state.”

The investigation began in 2004 when some of the victims filed complaints about incomplete and substantial construction work.  The TPD and HCCPA initiated separate investigations that quickly grew from construction fraud and theft to a sophisticated mortgage fraud by a criminal enterprise.  As the investigations expanded to Pinellas and Polk counties, and statewide, the FDLE and the OSWP joined to form a task force.  The task force investigators conducted hundreds of interviews, issued approximately 250 subpoenas, and reviewed tens of thousands of documents. 

The majority of the fraudulent loans were submitted through and funded by Argent Mortgage Company, one of the nation’s largest wholesale “sub-prime” mortgage companies.  Thirty-one of these fraudulent residential mortgage loans totaling nearly $3 million are outlined in a 150-page arrest affidavit.

Two of the defendants charged, Orson Benn and Samuel Green, are former high-ranking employees of Argent’s White Plains, New York office. Benn and Green were instrumental in the fraud as they subverted Argent policies and approved fraudulent documents and loan packages submitted by brokers.  The fraudulent loans were funded and the proceeds were distributed to the defendants.  Benn received bribes or kickbacks from Scott Almeida, Frank Giffone and others associated with submitting the fraudulent loan packages for approval.

The other three defendants, Scott Almeida, Frank Giffone and Adrienne White, are all former owners, principals or employees of the Hillsborough County mortgage broker companies Advanced Mortgage Solutions and Consumer Lending Resources.  In addition to the mortgage brokerage businesses, the defendants operated two home improvement companies: Premier Quality Renovations and Florida Beautiful Construction.

In addition to the construction-related mortgage fraud cases, Almeida submitted fraudulent documents in support of at least two mortgages for his own personal property and for close associates of the criminal enterprise. In addition to Argent, fraudulent loans were also submitted by Almeida and processed and approved by Pinnacle Mortgage Company, Decision One Mortgage Company and Mortgage Lenders Network USA.

In total, Almeida and his associates, through various mortgage broker businesses, have submitted approximately 180 loans through Argent Mortgage Company totaling nearly $18 million.  At least 129 of these loans were funded in the amount of approximately $13 million.

Argent executives and their outside legal counsel have cooperated with investigators and have provided information and documents to support the investigation.  Argent made swift personnel decisions and conducted their own internal investigation to help prevent similar activity in the future.  Argent has also communicated with and assisted the victims in this case, many of which were facing potential foreclosure actions.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are anticipated against other associates related to these five defendants and their criminal enterprise.
"This case is an excellent example of a specialized County level Consumer Protection Agency looking beyond the initial consumer complaints about shoddy and unfinished construction work,” said Director James L. Sudberry. “This multi agency team of experienced investigators worked tirelessly uncovering a major mortgage fraud scheme that would have likely gone undetected costing citizens hundreds of thousands of dollars and, in some cases, their homes.  We still feel this may just be the tip of the iceberg."


For more information, contact:

Kevin Jackson
Chief Investigator
Hillsborough Consumer Protection Agency
(813) 903-3425


Laura McElroy
Police Spokesperson
Tampa Police Department
(813) 276-3779


Chris Orlando  <   I know this guy  Hi Chris, You Suck!
Public Information Officer
Argent Mortgage
(714) 541-9960 extension 12308


Sandi Copes
Press Secretary
Office of the Attorney General
(850) 245-0150


Larry Krick
Supervisor
Pinellas County Department of Justice and Consumer Services
(727) 464-6200

Trena Reddick
Public Information Officer
FDLE - Tampa Bay
(813) 878-7239 or 878-7300

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