- 7:56 AM EDT, August 29, 2007
Judge H. Russel Holland heard the case at U.S. District Court in Anchorage.
Partow was fired from Countrywide in June 2006 after FBI scrutiny of his loans provoked an internal audit. American Home immediately hired him to be a loan officer and branch manager of its Anchorage office, court records show.
After federal authorities executed a search warrant on his office in October 2006, Partow withdrew the equity from his house and sent it overseas, then fled to France and Iran.
But he returned to the United States, and on April 20 he pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one at each bank, in exchange for other wire fraud charges being dropped.
In the American Home case, Partow, 41, of Chugiak, helped a client refinance his home in 2006. Even though the client provided accurate information about his income, Partow listed the income as $20,000 per month - "an amount that significantly overstated [the client's] true income," according to Partow's plea agreement.
In the Countrywide case, he admitted to knowingly overstating an applicant's income to qualify for a loan in 2004.
Stated income mortgages, a type Alt-A loan, allow loan officers to list borrowers' incomes on mortgage applications but do not require documentary verification of those figures. By misstating applicants' financial statuses, Partow enabled them to qualify for loans they might not otherwise have gotten.
The indictment against Partow listed 14 loans or fraudulent applications and charged him with eight counts of wire fraud related to $2.2 million in American Home loans and a $156,000 loan from Countrywide.
In addition to overstating borrowers' incomes, the indictment alleged that Partow engaged in a scheme to generate paperwork showing falsely that borrowers had made 20 percent down payments on their properties by engaging in "an unwritten side agreement to have the seller repay the borrower the alleged down payment amount."
Such tactics often involve the complicity of an appraiser who overstates the value of the property, mortgage experts said.
Fitzgerald's sentencing memorandum said Partow was compensated "most importantly" by commissions based on branch profitability, and that he "had authority ... to accept loans otherwise not strictly complying with the loan criteria."
The document said he was one of "a fair number" of employees hired by American Home after Countrywide fired them in connection with the FBI probe.
An attached November 2006 e-mail, purportedly from an American Home senior vice president, reads, "At AHM we pride ourselves on having a loan for virtually any borrower, regardless of whether or not they have the ability to verify their Income, Assets or Employment history."
Another purported company e-mail, from October 2006, instructs loan officers to "play around with the loan all they want ... as long as it has NOT been released to processing."
There were no court papers available indicating that American Home took any action against Partow. A company spokesman would not comment on the case.
A Countrywide spokesman said that company was a victim of Partow's operation.
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