Friday, October 26, 2007

Mortgage Fraud Task Force. Hmmm? Could Help be on the Way?

Mortgage fraud
Crooks, 'We are coming after you'
Local, state and federal agencies form one of the first task forces in the U.S. to battle con artists
By Pamela Manson
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 10/25/2007 11:56:02 PM MDT

Con artists who have made Utah a hot spot for mortgage fraud are the target of a crackdown.

Local, state and federal agencies have formed one of the nation's first comprehensive task forces to battle them, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman announced Thursday.

"We are coming after you," Tolman said at a news conference. "We're not going to let people get away with this type of behavior."

The 2007 Mortgage Asset Research Institute's Ninth Periodic Report to the MBA ranks Utah as fifth in the nation for mortgage fraud after Florida, California, Michigan and Georgia. The FBI ranked Utah in the Top 10 of mortgage fraud states in 2006.

Huntsman noted that there has been a "checkerboard of jurisdictions and investigations" in the state. By combining the resources of different agencies, the task force hopes to close gaps and ensure that no one gets away with a scam, he said.

"Our firepower as a state has been enhanced many-fold," the governor said.

Members of the task force will be divided into teams that investigate and prosecute all participants in a suspected fraud. Criminal charges could be brought in either state or federal court. Some of the common schemes involve straw buyers, illegal property flipping, identity theft or inflated appraisals.

Agencies participating in the mortgage fraud task force include:
The U.S. Attorney's Office,
Utah Attorney General's Office,
the FBI, Utah Insurance Fraud Division,
the IRS, the Draper Police Department,
the Utah Department of Commerce, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General,
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
the Utah Department of Insurance,
the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,
the state Department of Public Safety,
the Utah Division of Securities and the Salt Lake, and the Davis,
Utah and Washington county attorneys' offices.

Minor Machman has asked for a contact within the task force. Wonder where the Weber County Attorney office is on this list? Something about Weber County and the Huntsville area? Hmmm? Men of of action, think I'll call the County Attorney. Maybe we all should call? 1-801-399-8377 is the number for all you "men (and women) of conscience (action)".


Don Quixote de La Mancha said...

I have called two times. Becca the secretary handed me off to Nathan, an assistant attorney who said they only get involved with complaints investigated by the Sheriff's Office. He had never heard of any task force and did not know of any point of contact within the task force. Imagine that? A second call today reveiled that the real County Attorney is Mark Decaria, but he was in court. Still no POC within the Task Force. Weber County specifically Ogden Valley has some of the most suspicious real estate activity and nefarious characters in the State yet Weber County Attorney is not even involved with a Statewide Mortgage Fraud Task Force?! Was not Commissioner Dearden a cop? Will keep on calling until I for one find one. We all have been taken advantage of by falsely inflated real estate "current market valuations" by less than an honest assessment. "All I have to do is follow the building permits and MLS activity...Ha Ha Ha". There are places that have not been assessed in Weber Co. for 30 years. People our local government is a bunch of sickos and need to be shown the door along with the nut cases on their staffs. A total house cleaning is in order. Don't believe it call on a Friday afternoon and see if you can speak to a supervisor...any supervisor at the Assessor's office.

Minor Machman said...

Missouri: St. Louis - Real estate investor Michael Noll, accused along with former high school basketball coach Floyd Irons of real estate fraud, pleaded guilty. Prosecutors said the men paid more than market value for four homes and falsified loan application documents. A mortgage broker is said to have paid the men kickbacks from the sale proceeds. Irons and the broker pleaded guilty last month. USA Today, Oct. 26, 2007

Valley said...

Maybe the door is closing on our local Mortgage/real estate flippers/schemers. The USA Today article sounds very familiar.

Minor Machman said...

Update: Called Davis Co. Attorney, Rawlings who was "user friendly", also Ron Dunn, an assistant. They both returned call and referred to a Det. Gary Peterson, in-house investigator Mort. Fraud Task Force, also responsive and ready to move. But after a month and some six phone messages not returned, I spoke with Asst. Utah Attorney Richard Hamp at symposium in St. George on 17 Nov. asking for POC. 28 Nov. with still no POC or answer I asked if Davis Co. Commissioner Allen Hansen could give an assist for a POC. 30 Nov. after a seventh call to Det. Peterson, I received finally a call from Det. P. who apologised. He explained that the Weber Task Force people were concerned that Davis was being involved and Co. Attorney Mark Decarica would have someone from Weber Co. contact me. Det. P was incredulous that this had not been done. He will contact me by noon Monday with status and/or POC within Task Force after talking to Scott T. of the US attorney's Office. And so it goes. Good thing there is no urgency or someone is not in danger? This whole episode began on 25 October '07?