Hunterbrook Hits UWM, UMortgage With Shell Scheme Claims


Hunterbrook Media is taking a second swing at United Wholesale Mortgage, claiming that an executive there helped a shell company establish Philadelphia-based UMortgage.

On April 2, Hunterbrook made waves when they published a report accusing UWM in Pontiac, Michigan, of widespread fraud. They estimated that homebuyers paid “between hundreds of millions and billions more in closing costs” because independent mortgage brokers working with UWM sent more than 99% of their business to the lender.

UWM’s CEO Mat Ishbia blew off the report at the time, pinning blame for it on his competitor Rocket Mortgage and its founder and chairman, Dan Gilbert. Rocket Mortgage denied having any involvement with the report.

The following week, UWM leaders went after the report’s author and his relationship with Rocket.

Hunterbrook’s lead author of the report, Matthew Termine, worked for an independent mortgage broker, according to Publisher Sam Koppelman.

Termine was listed as the sole author of the shell scheme report edited by Koppelman and released on Thursday.

“Now Hunterbrook Media has learned that a UWM executive set up a shell company that in 2019 was used to purchase and establish UMortgage, a Philadelphia-based mortgage company that brands itself as independent, according to corporate records, some obtained through Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests. UMortgage is run by Anthony Casa, a close ally of UWM CEO Mat Ishbia,” Termine wrote.

UMortgage sent UWM an estimated 77% of its loans from 2021 to 2023, totaling $1.9 billion, according to Hunterbrook’s analysis.

Termine wrote that Casa and UWM Chief Strategy Officer Alex Elezaj each contributed $300,000 to ECWIN, LLC. That limited liability company was assigned two-thirds (67%) of the membership interests in Premier Processing, LLC, owned by Suzanne Okun, on May 1, 2019.

“Elezaj appeared on UMortgage filings until 2020 — when it appears he transferred his stake to Casa, just before UWM’s public listing through a SPAC transaction,” Termine wrote.

Termine wrote the nature of this financing relationship that led to the establishment of UMortgage had previously been unknown, but ties between UWM and Casa’s company have been questioned before.

In February of 2022, DC politico Jared Whitley wrote for RealClear Policy that UMortgage was registered with the state of Michigan as Premier Processing and had “Ishbia’s fingerprints all over it.”

“A February 2020 notice from the New York State Department of Financial Services even suggests UWM’s Chief Strategy Officer Alexander Elezaj is part of Premier Processing’s ownership group,” Whitley wrote.

Hunterbrook is a start-up founded by Koppelman and investor Nathaniel Brooks Horwitz. It is comprised of two entities: a hedge fund and a website that publishes reports based on publicly available data.

Hunterbrook Capital makes trades based on stories it uncovers through Hunterbrook Media.

On Thursday, Hunterbrook again disclosed that they placed a short position on UWM and a long position on Rocket Mortgage, which is headquartered in Detroit.

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