Mortgage fraud took center stage this week in several corners of the U.S., led by a 12-year federal prison sentence for a Chicago man who pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges last April.
Fred Haywood, age 42, worked for a number of mortgage brokerages between 2001 and 2007, and in that time, he was a party to more than 60 dubious real estate transactions in the city. On top of the prison sentence, Haywood was ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution.
In Missouri, a California man pleaded guilty top federal mail fraud charges – a felony. Thirty-year-old Derek Thomas Doherty used his Home Safe Financial business to draw consumers into buying audits and receiving free loan modifications. Doherty never rendered these services, and consumers lost upwards of $400,000.
The crimes were committed in the St. Louis area in 2010. Doherty faces up to 21 months in prison when he is sentenced.
Another California resident and three individuals from Las Vegas have been indicted on a number of felonies related to an alleged mortgage fraud scam in Nevada.
Lynda Finch-Estrada, William Chrissikopoulos, Alan Dornhuber and William Patterson are accused of running a scam similar to Doherty's, whereby the defendants sold audits that were intended to identify RESPA violations and, in turn, wipe out homeowners' mortgages. The group also sold a ‘program’ that drew owners into quit-claiming their homes in order to eliminate their mortgage balances.
Neither of these programs was legitimate, prosecutors say.
And in Kansas, seven people have been charged with crimes including money laundering, making a false statement, wire fraud and bank fraud connected to a wide mortgage fraud ring.
Straw-buying is at the center of these cases, and entities ranging from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the Federal Housing Administration were allegedly wronged.