Massachusetts Man Sentenced To Prison For Mortgage Fraud

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A real estate developer has been sentenced to four years in prison for his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme involving at least two dozen loan transactions totaling $6.5 million. The actions of George Kritopoulos, 50, resulted in more than $3.8 million in losses to lenders, according to authorities at the United States Department of Justice. Kritopoulos, of Salem, was convicted by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud, six counts of bank fraud, one count of aiding the preparation of a false income tax return, and one count of obstruction of justice on May 27. Kritopoulos was originally charged in September 2018 along with co-defendants Joseph Bates III and David…

Fraud Risk Fell Overall In Q2, Though Fraud Associated With Purchase Loans Ticked Up

Mortgage fraud risk dropped 7.5% YOY in Q2 2022, with one in 131 mortgage applications containing instances of fraud, CoreLogic reported. In contrast, Q2 2021 saw fraud in 1 in 120 applications. Mortgage fraud is defined as the deliberate act of lying or omitting information that is used by an underwriter or lender to fund, purchase, or insure a mortgage loan. CoreLogic’s Mortgage Fraud Risk Index showed fraud risk in mid-2022 coming down from a point of high risk in 2021. The company said it is also partly due to a recalibration of its sourcing model in Q1 2022. After the update, the index showed higher risk during certain months in Q2. For example, while overall fraud risk fell, income…

Man Pleads Guilty In Mortgage Fraud Scheme Involving $167M

The nephew of a New York real estate mogul has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in a mortgage fraud case involving $167 million. Kevin Morgan, former vice president of Morgan Management and Morgan Communities, pleaded guilty to bank larceny on Tuesday. Morgan admitted to submitting false documents to ESL Federal Credit Union for a construction loan. The charge carries a fine of $100,000 and one year in prison, though Morgan will serve no jail time due to his plea deal. It is expected he will be sentenced on Oct. 20. Morgan had previously pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to commit bank fraud. The new plea is a lesser charge and supersedes his original admission. It is the result of…

California Man Pleads Guilty In Foreclosure Rescue Scheme

A California man has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with a foreclosure rescue scam that took at least $5 million from distressed homeowners. Sergio Lorenzo Rodriguez admitted to one count of wire fraud, according to the Department of Justice. This offense carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.  Rodriguez and an unnamed person owned and/or managed a series of mortgage modification companies, through which they used deceptive marketing practices to defraud homeowners facing foreclosure. They executed this scheme between mid-2015 and August 2020. Through tactics such as falsely claiming homeowners had been pre-approved by their lender for a modification and…

Victims Of Mortgage Ponzi Scheme Can Seek Compensation

By KIMBERLEY HAAS People who were victimized by what investigators have called the biggest Ponzi scheme in New Hampshire history can apply for compensation. In a news release, officials from the state’s Department of Justice announced that victims of Financial Resources Mortgage, Inc., and CL&M, Inc., can start filing applications to seek compensation from the FRM Victims’ Contribution Recovery Fund. People can submit an application either by printing, filling out, and mailing the paper version or by completing and sending the electronic version. The application deadline is May 18. After Financial Resources Mortgage collapsed in 2009, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Scott Farah of Meredith, NH, and Donald Dodge of Belmont, NH, claiming they operated a fraudulent Ponzi…

Morning Roundup (1/10/2022)– UWM In-Office Fight Continues, Fraud Costs Rising

Good Morning! Today is Monday, January 10. A fire in a Bronx apartment building killed at least nineteen people. Russian forces have surrounded Ukraine on three sides as diplomats meet in Geneva for talks. “Power of the Dog” and “Succession” won top honors at the Golden Globes, which did not air this year due to criticism over ethical lapses and a lack of diversity. And in mortgage and housing news… Are UWM Workers Being Unreasonable?: United Wholesale Mortgage turned heads in the industry last week when it was reported that health officials are investigating the company after receiving complaints about how they are handling COVID, which lead some people to ask why employees in lending are expected to be in…

Mortgage Fraud Rose To Pre-Pandemic Levels In Q2

Mortgage fraud rose 37.2% year-over-year (YOY) through Q2, reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to CoreLogic’s latest Mortgage Fraud Report.  The increases are artificially high given the significant drop in fraud during 2020, which was driven by jumps in traditionally low-risk refinances. The current level mimics mid-2019. “Refinance opportunities that surged lending volumes during the pandemic may be winding down. The outlook is for fewer low-risk refinances compared to purchases and cash-out refinances, which translates to a higher-risk environment for fraud,” said Ann Regan, executive, product management at CoreLogic. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, increasing interest rates have hampered refinance activity, with applications spiraling to their lowest point since January 2020. Purchase applications have picked up slightly. About 0.83% of all…