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Mortgage Fraud Artists Sued

September 18th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

Ten companies and 15 individuals face lawsuits and possible criminal charges in a mortgage fraud scheme that stretched across central Florida. The scheme bilked banks of 6 million dollars. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the scheme prospered in part because of lax state regulation.

With a flow chart at his side, Attorney general Bill McCullom explained how mortgage fraud artists inflated home values, used straw buyers and false loan applications to bilk lenders out of six million dollars.

And they got the mortgage, they got the money, they got the cash, McCollum said.

Not all of those involved had criminal records, but some did. The Director of the Department of Financial record was fired a month ago because his office, among other things, did not conduct some background checks required by law.

I dont know if it could have been stopped. What I do know is that this was an ongoing criminal enterprise, McCollum said.

The scheme was uncovered through an anonymous tip.

An audit of the woes at the office of financial regulation found that in addition to lax enforcement, nobody was paying attention to details.

CFO Alex Sink pushed for the resignation of the departments director. She sited a lack of attention to details.

They had no way to really adequately handle the complaints or follow them. No tracking process, no follow-up process, Sink said. It looked to me like from the inspector generals report that the complaints were just going into a black hole.

Florida has the fourth most foreclosures in the nation, but it leads the country in the number of fraud cases.

Posted in Business, McCollum, State News | 2 Comments »

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