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Monday, April 13, 2009

Mortgage Fraud in 2008

by Calculated Risk on 4/13/2009 11:24:00 AM

Kelly Bennett and Will Carless at the VoiceofSanDiego investigate: Rented Identities, Extravagant Prices and Foreclosure: A Post-Boom Real Estate Scam

Over the course of several months last year, [James D. McConville] picked up at least 81 condo conversions from distressed developers and orchestrated their sale to more than 20 buyers who'd rented him their identities ...

By arranging purchase prices well above market value, McConville was able to pay off the developers and capture what the developers' records state as more than $12.5 million. Now, 74 of the 81 homes involved in the deals in Sommerset Villas and Sommerset Woods in Escondido and Westlake Ranch in San Marcos are in the first stage of foreclosure.
McConville bought distressed condos from developers in bulk, and then sold them to straw buyers (individuals with solid credit records who agreed to sign for the loans for a fee). McConville pocketed the difference between the straw buyer price and the bulk price - approximately $12.5 million.

McConville promised to rent the properties, and pay the mortgages from the rental income.

The individuals had pristine credit, and one mortgage lender said:
"Everything was just absolutely perfect -- some of the cleanest loans we'd seen."
Of course the relationship with McConville was apparently never disclosed.

This was happening in 2008. Lenders were supposed to be back to the three C's: creditworthiness, capacity, and collateral. These straw buyers - who apparently were willing to falsely sign that they were the actual buyers - satisfied the creditworthiness and capacity criteria. But this raises serious questions about the appraisals.

Also McConville timed the multiple applications perfectly so the lender wouldn't see the other loans apps when they performed a credit check - that is pretty amazing.

Part II will be out today tonight ...