Friday, November 30, 2007

How We Got Here

From the court documents in the fallout of the Duke Cunningham bribery case. Former Congressman Cunningham is currently serving eight years for taking bribes from a number of individuals, including the Thomas Kontogiannis mentioned here:

"The government’s investigation indicates that Kontogiannis’s typical mortgage fraud involved the following scenario. (With regard to the following narrative, see Exhibit 5 and Exhibits 12-19.)
Kontogiannis would have a loan application prepared in the name of a putative home purchaser, sometimes with the knowledge of the person (who might be paid a fee) and sometimes without the person’s knowledge, for a property that Kontogiannis either had developed or had planned to develop. Fraudulent paperwork would be prepared related to, for example, income, assets, or appraisal. (Kontogiannis presumably would pay a kickback to the individual preparing these documents.) Applications would then otherwise be submitted for approval to various financial institutions in accordance with normal industry practices. At closing, all title documentation (such as the mortgage and note, the uniform settlement statement (HUD-1 form), title-insurance paperwork, and affidavits pertaining to the purchaser’s identity and intent of occupancy) would be fraudulently executed by a loan officer controlled by Kontogiannis. ... The mortgage and note, however, would never be recorded, the taxes never paid, and title insurance never purchased. Instead, the funds that had been disbursed for these purposes would eventually be steered to another company ostensibly owned by one of Kontogiannis’s daughters but controlled by Kontogiannis.
These fraudulent loans would ultimately be sold into the secondary-mortgage market to a lender who would be led to believe, based on the loan documentation provided by Kontogiannis’s agent, that the loan had been sent for recording and that all taxes and recording fees had been paid....
One company alone had purchased over 100 of the loans in the secondary market, with an average loan amount of approximately $500,000. That publicly traded and federally chartered bank thus had approximately $50,000,000 in loans that were potentially worthless because, as a result of Kontogiannis’s scams, none of the mortgages were recorded in primary position as the bank had assumed. That, in turn, meant that if any of the loans defaulted, the bank would not be able to foreclose on any real property and thereby recoup any of the losses. ”

Published speculation says the "one company" may be Washington Mutual, which you may remember surfaced in another matter.


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Ed Pell said...

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