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A May 10 federal indictment unsealed today (July 12) charges Mary Armstrong, Ramona real estate agent Teresa Rose, and William Fountain with devising and pulling off a loan origination and kickback scheme that involved homes in Ramona and El Cajon. Armstrong, a fugitive who did not have a mortgage loan broker license, was arrested today in Las Vegas. According to the indictment, the defendants advertised that people could buy property with no money down; the alleged scamsters would make the mortgage payments with money they got from renting the homes out. But the so-called investors were straw buyers. The defendants allegedly falsified loan applications that contained false information, such as that the investors raked in fat income from fake employers. Fake W-2s and pay stubs were cooked up to support the income claims, according to the government. The three defendants purchased at least 16 properties, secured more than $11 million in mortgage loans, skimmed more than $1.5 million in sham construction kickbacks, and raked in more through commissions and fees. Mortgage lenders lost $5 million, says the U.S. Attorney's office.

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Don Bauder July 13, 2012 @ 1:39 p.m.

TWO PLEAD GUILTY IN ANOTHER MORTGAGE SCAM. Simon Saeid Koli entered a guilty plea in federal court today (July 13) to an indictment charging him and Kian Ashanizadeh with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering in a mortgage fraud scam. Ashkanizadeh had pleaded guilty July 9. They worked at Southern California Finance. They recruited family members and friends to supply names and signatures on mortgage applications for four homes on Triton Street in Carlsbad, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Koli and Ashanizadeh then phonied up job titles, assets and income of the purported buyers, so they could get mortgages. The defendants also diverted $200,000 in sham consulting fees and $45,000 in fraudulent construction fees from each of the four transactions, says the U.S. Attorney's office. The defendants took most of the $980,000 diverted from the escrow proceedings, says the government.

My own question: when will officials ask the lenders in these two scams, and so many other mortgage scams, whether they have taken an IQ test? Best, Don Bauder

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