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Tag: mortgage fraud

Gangs Expanding and Some Activity Now Includes Mortgage Fraud and Human Trafficking


fbi art

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Gangs across the U.S. are continuing to expand, with some even moving into white collar crimes like mortgage fraud and counterfeiting, alien smuggling and human trafficking, according to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment released by the National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC), the FBI said.

“Gangs continue to expand, evolve, and become more violent. The FBI, along with its federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, strives to disrupt and prevent their criminal activities and seek justice for innocent victims of their crimes,” Assistant Director Kevin Perkins of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division said in a statement.

The gang report revealed that approximately 1.4 million gang members belonging to more than 33,000 gangs were criminally active in the U.S. as of April, 2011.

The report said gangs have been encouraging members, associates, and relatives to obtain law enforcement, judiciary, or legal employment  to gather information on rival gangs and law enforcement operations.

The report said gang infiltration of the military continues to pose a significant criminal threat.

Gang members who learn advanced weaponry and combat techniques in the military are at risk of employing these skills on the street when they return to their communities, the report said.

The report said that gang membership increased most significantly in the Northeast and Southeast regions, although the West and Great Lakes regions boast the highest number of gang members. Neighborhood-based gangs, hybrid gang members, and national-level gangs such as the Sureños are rapidly expanding in many jurisdictions. Many communities are also experiencing an increase in ethnic-based gangs such as African, Asian, Caribbean, and Eurasian gangs.

 

FBI Report Show Mortgage Fraud on the Rise

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI report shows that mortgage fraud appears to be on the rise.

The FBI said it had 3,129 pending mortgage fraud investigations in 2010, up 12 percent from 2009 and up 90 percent from 2008 when the economy tanked and the real estate market was already in dire straights.

The FBI said 71 percent of the pending mortgage fraud investigations in 2010 involved losses of more than $1 million.

“Mortgage fraud continued at elevated levels in 2010, consistent with levels seen in 2009, the report said. “Mortgage fraud schemes are particularly resilient, and they readily adapt to economic changes and modifications in lending practices.”

The report said the top states for known or suspected mortgage fraud included California, Florida, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Maryland and New Jersey.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Fla. FBI Agent and Cops on Trial for Mortgage Fraud

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Trial began Tuesday in Ft. Lauderdale federal court for an FBI agent along with four local Florida cops and a former officer, who face charges of mortgage fraud involving the purchase of properties in Broward and Palm Beach counties, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported.

The paper reported that the six are accused of lying to lenders about things like income or whether the homes would be primary residences.

The paper reported that the defendants attorneys claim their clients were victims, and they had no idea the two mortgage brokers working with them submitted false information and forged signatures on hundreds of lending documents so they could make more money off the deals.

The paper reported that the mortgage brokers have cut deals with the feds and intend to testify in court.

The FBI agent, Robert DePriest, has been removed from all investigative duties with the FBI, the paper reported.

Justice Dept. Vows to Go After Wall Street Banks, But Nothing So Far

wall-streetBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Despite the tough talk by President Obama and his Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, the administration has yet to file charges against the big Wall Street banks that had their hands in bad and risky housing loans, the Washington Post reports.

“Nearly 1 1/2 years into Obama’s tenure, despite several cases against mortgage companies whose lending practices contributed to the crisis, the administration has not brought any charges against the big Wall Street banks that took those loans, converted them into toxic securities and pumped them into the world’s financial markets,” Post reporter Jerry Markon wrote. “Law enforcement sources say no such charges are imminent.”

The Post noted that the administration has talked tough and cited comments Eric Holder made in November about getting tough on Wall Street execs who contributed to the financial crisis.

“We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and we will not hesitate to bring charges,” Holder said then.

Some think the administration has promised too much.

To read more click here.

Authorities Charge 1,215 People in Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Sweep

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller announce results/fbi photo

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller announce results/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News
WASHINGTON –The Justice Department today announced the “broadest mortgage fraud sweep” in U.S. history, with criminal charges filed against 1,215 people. Almost 500 have already been arrested in a 3 1/2-month crackdown dubbed “Operation Stolen Dreams.”

Authorities said the operation uncovered $2.3 billion in mortgage fraud losses and recovered $147 million through 191 civil enforcement actions.

Despite the multistate crackdown, FBI Director Robert Mueller said there is still room for concern. He noted that his agency is pursuing more than 3,000 mortgage fraud cases, almost double the number from the last fiscal year.

“Those who prey on the housing market should know that hundreds of FBI agents on task forces and their law enforcement partners are tracking down your schemes, and you will be brought to justice,” Mueller said in a statement.

Attorney General Eric Holder added: “The staggering totals from this sweep highlight the mortgage fraud trends we are seeing around the country. We have seen mortgage fraud take on all shapes and sizes — from schemes that ensnared the elderly to fraudsters who targeted immigrant communities.”

To read more click here.

Read Report

FBI Arrests Ex-Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Eugene Lockhart in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

dallas-cowboysBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Eugene J. Lockhart could be playing football again, but this time behind bars.

The FBI on Thursday arrested Lockhart, 48, whose  nickname was once “The Hitting Machine”, on mortgage fraud charges.

The feds charged Lockhart and eight others in a classic mortgage fraud scheme that involved “straw purchasers” and 54 fraudulent residential property loans totalling about $20.5 million between 2001 and 2005 in the Dallas area, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas.

Authorities said that Lockhart was involved in a number of real estate companies with names like America’s Team Funding Group and Cowboys Realty.

Read Press Release

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Report Says Mortgage Fraud Problem Continues to Grow

istock_000007759741xsmall1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON – The mortgage fraud problem is growing and continues to plague the crippled real estate market.

The FBI on Tuesday released the 2008 Mortgage Fraud Report which showed that mortgage fraud Suspicious Activity Reports increased 36 percent to 63,713 during fiscal year 2008, compared to 46,717 during the same period the year before.

“Mortgage fraud hurts borrowers, financial institutions, and legitimate homeowners,” Assistant Director Kevin Perkins of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division said in a prepared statement.
“The FBI, in conjunction with our law enforcement, regulatory, and industry partners, continues to diligently pursue perpetrators of mortgage fraud schemes.”

According to an FBI press release, other key findings in the report include:
•As of FY 2008, the western region of the United States had the most pending FBI mortgage fraud-related investigations.
•The top 10 mortgage fraud states for 2008 were California, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Colorado, Maryland, Florida, Missouri, and New York.
•Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia were newly identified as having significant mortgage fraud problems.
•Criminals continued using old schemes, including property flipping, builder-bailouts, short sales, and foreclosure rescues. Additionally, in response to tighter lending practices, they facilitated new schemes, such as reverse mortgage fraud, credit enhancements, condo conversion, loan modifications, and pump and pay.

Read Full Report

Two Ex-FBI Agents Say the Agency Should Have Done More to Head Off Mortgage Fraud Disaster

Sure the FBI saw this mortgage mess way back when. And sure it was clear it didn’t have enough resources to deal with it. But back then it wasn’t a disaster. Now it is. And that’s our nature: we seldom address things until they become a crisis. Now we’ve got us a real crisis. Now the FBI wants more resources to deal with it all.

By PAUL SHUKOVSKY
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
SEATTLE — The FBI was aware for years of “pervasive and growing” fraud in the mortgage industry that eventually contributed to America’s financial meltdown, but did not take definitive action to stop it.
“It is clear that we had good intelligence on the mortgage-fraud schemes, the corrupt attorneys, the corrupt appraisers, the insider schemes,” said a recently retired, high FBI official. Another retired top FBI official confirmed that such intelligence went back to 2002.
The problem, according to the two FBI retirees and several other current and former bureau colleagues, is that the bureau was stretched so thin that no one noticed when those lenders began packaging bad mortgages into bad securities.
“We knew that the mortgage-brokerage industry was corrupt,” the first of the retired FBI officials told the Seattle P-I. “Where we would have gotten a sense of what was really going on was the point where the mortgage was sold knowing that it was a piece of dung and it would be turned into a security. But the agents with the expertise had been diverted to counterterrorism.”
For Full Story