January 23, 2007

FLASH: Cash-back mortgage fraud story now sucking all the air out of Phoenix housing market (sorry, Greg Swann, the jig is up)

ARIZONA HOUSING IMPLOSION CODE RED!!!!

I can't believe what I'm reading. "Rolodex of Realtors" Catherine Reagor is now channeling fricking Carl Bernstein, and dominating the Phoenix media (and soon to be national media) with this cash-back mortgage fraud exposure in Phoenix.

Someone found housing crash jesus! Now if she'd just admit she's gone from REIC pawn to HP junkie...

This latest follow-up has only one real estate clerk quote, if you can believe that! And a pretty negative one at that. No more cheerleading when the sh*t really hits the fan I guess.

Too bad Greg Swann hasn't done a posting or gotten the message. But of course, he hasn't and he won't, even though it's the biggest story in Phoenix real estate history.

The Phoenix Housing Ponzi Scheme is over folks. Panic is now setting in, the center does not hold, it'll be every man for himself, and you are about to watch something historic. These are important days. God help us all. Duck and cover.

State targets mortgage fraud
Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic

A wave of mortgage fraud in the Valley has prompted state legislation that would define it as a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

A day after The Arizona Republic's special investigation into cash-back mortgage deals, Sen. Jay Tibshraeny of Chandler introduced a bill that would make mortgage fraud a felony.

"Mortgage fraud hurts everyone," said Tibshraeny, who has been working on the legislation for months. "Buyer, beware of a deal that seems too good. The strings your Realtor or mortgage broker pull may be illegal."

Felecia Rotellini, superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, is leading a new mortgage fraud task force made up of state and federal agencies. She said the proposed legislation would help investigators crack down on mortgage fraud. Rotellini said her agency was deluged with calls Monday from people reporting cash-back deals and other potential mortgage fraud

Valley real estate investor and marketing executive Francine Hardaway said: "Thank God somebody finally blew the whistle on this. As an investor, I see it all over the place."

Don Matheson of Re/Max Excalibur Realty of Scottsdale said: "This is a very big problem and very damaging to our real estate market. We need to catch these people and put them in jail."

Several readers were alerted to the schemes when they saw homes sit unsold for months and their prices reduced. Then, as the housing market was slowing even more, those homes sold for tens of thousands of dollars more than the previous listed price.




39 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this mortgage-fraud task force business catches on nationally, watch out below. One big thing keeping prices stable now is cash-back. Take that out of the equation and you'll see prices start to really tank much more rapidly. All you need to see is a few agents and brokers doing an Enron-syle perp-walk and the whole house of cards could fall, as it burns to the ground.
Can you securitize a perp-walk?

brokersleaveyoubroke said...

Huh? Arizona is working on legislation to make mortgage fraud a crime. Does that mean that right now mortgage fraud is NOT a crime? Is this some more of the benefits of de-regulation?

Garth Farkley said...

All this mortgage fraud can be blamed directly on the bubble bloggers and housing nay sayers, right?

Anonymous said...

It's all over now.

Anonymous said...

We'll wonder where the media was during all of this obvious manipulaiton and fraud

WhiteTower said...

from the Republic article

"Valley appraiser Dennis McMillen said that mortgage fraud is an issue in the housing market but that it's not always due to inflated appraisals. In some cases, he said, "real estate agents and mortgage brokers are withholding the cash-back agreements from the contract, thus the appraiser and title company does not know of these agreements."

No way bud. This type of fraud simply isn't possible without the fraudulent appraisal, short of forging the homebuyer's signature. The lender's underwriters will need the appraisal to approve the loan. The fraudulent appraisal is the key link in the chain.

retstern said...

Cash back offers from new home builders lennar, centex etc are widespread

Anonymous said...

pandorah wants to open her box
heheheh

suzanne researched it... said...

Have the folks in AZ actually reached the panic stage with just a short stay at the desperation stage? If so this house of card is falling quicker than my research indicated it would.

-SRI

Anonymous said...

A wave of mortgage fraud in the Valley has prompted state legislation that would define it as a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
+++++
This punishment is, IMHO, unrealistic. Yes, mortgage fraud should be punished, but the way things have been out-of-control the last few years, perhaps at least 10 percent of ALL the citizens of the State of Arizona are guilty of this crime. There won't be enough room in any of their current jails to house all the convicts! I would suggest instead BIG monetary fines, and, in addition, all the money they gained in their illegal deals will have to be forfeited.

Patch Tuesday said...

Oh hell, just tell the National Guard and the Minutemen to take a night off from the border, so that a couple thousand more illegals can make it across into Arizona. They'll buy up all those homes and fix the problem quick...

Shakster said...

brokersleaveyoubroke-No doubt.It must occur to most HPers that this shizzle was known about by the banks.I think the trap has been sprung.

Shakster said...

Perp walk to the military as cannon fodder for George ,and Dicks next big adventure in Iran.

Anonymous said...

Bernanke mentioned the cash back thing as something that was keeping housing prices high last year.

Every state has this fraud going on. Let's hope other states jump on the bandwagon and make mortgage fraud a felony.

Anonymous said...


We'll wonder where the media was during all of this obvious manipulaiton and fraud


It's hard to see what's going on around one when one's head is fully inserted in someone else's a$$.

JAFO said...

Ok, for the last several months Reagor has been a shameless cheerleader for the REIC. Now suddenly she has seen the light? I smell a rat here. Either she's gone renegade or someone in upper management at that corporate fish wrap newspaper she writes for got burned in a real estate deal. Nonetheless, I applaud someone exposing the machinations of our broken lending/housing market. Look out below....


JAFO

Anonymous said...

Taiwan Lee

been there, done that.

stuckinthecity said...

took them long enough

Anonymous said...

Time2buy

Anonymous said...

Did Suzanne research this too?

Anonymous said...

Ripped from today's news....

President Bush asks Congress to give plan "a chance" in State of the Union address

My take?

Give WAR a Chance
- George Bush (not John Lennon)

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, TERRORISM
This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism
All we are saying is give WAR a chance
All we are saying is give WAR a chance

(C'mon)
Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Minister, Sinister, Banisters and Canisters,
Bishops, Fishops, Rabbis, and Pop Eyes, Bye bye, Bye byes
All we are saying is give WAR a chance
All we are saying is give WAR a chance

(Let me tell you now)
Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Revolution, Evolution, Masturbation, Flagellation, Regulation,
Integrations, mediations, United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give WAR a chance
All we are saying is give WAR a chance

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary,
Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan, Tommy Cooper,
Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer, Alan Ginsberg, Hare Krishna
Hare Hare Krishna
All we are saying is give WAR a chance
All we are saying is give WAR a chance
(Repeat 'til the tape runs out)

Anonymous said...

Things are getting uglier in Florida, too. See:

Home Buyers Assemble Lawyers
Investors in houses to be built by CCI say they had to use Coast Bank.

"...Coast Bank has warned investors in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had loaned about $110 million to 482 customers of a single regional builder and its affiliates."

http://tinyurl.com/2z3xst

Anonymous said...

FYI - REO's are being priced well above comps in my area. What are the banks trying to do? Maybe they don't want to crash the market and cause more foreclosures, so they are propping it up with inflated prices to make things look better. If they undercut the other homes in the area, it will start an avalanche

Anonymous said...

Didn't Casey Serin do cash-back mortgage deals on every house he bought? How is he still not in jail?

keith said...

"We'll wonder where the media was during all of this obvious manipulaiton and fraud"

No, we'll wonder with the millions of advertising dollars that poured into the MSM during the bubble how the MSM ever reported anything BUT housing cheerleading pieces

The REIC was the only thing that kept newspapers in the US alive these past few years.

I think Reagor is now Bernstein because the AZ Republic's REIC ads must be plummeting.

And if they weren't before, they sure are now!

belchorama said...

Odd...Greg Swann doesn't seem to mention anything about these articles on his blog. One would think this would be of import to a realtor based in Arizona. Guess it's hard to admit that your foundation is cracked...even harder if that foundation is of the figurative variety...the career foundation or the self-worth foundation for example...

Burn, baby, burn.

-Smug renter-vulture waiting for '09-'10 roadkill

belchorama said...

Keith,

Now that the pot is calling the kettle black, let's take a moment to recall where the pot was with her "fresh calculations" one month ago:

http://tinyurl.com/ybdqar

Catherine Reagor is a slaptard, and an embarassment to journalism. Her and the rest of the pots will be trying to cover this whole Ponzi scheme with the fig leaf of "the scammers caused it - so how could we have foreseen it?". Let's not let the pots get off the hook so easily.

Anonymous said...

Why would Swann not even mention this story on his blog? Does he think people won't find it, that he controls all real estate market information a la pravda?

keith said...

"Rolodex of Realtors" didn't let me down in the end - see this side story: http://tinyurl.com/24hvce


How the experts see it

"Cash-back scams are like reverse pyramid schemes that will come crashing down on homeowners."

Diane Drain

A Phoenix real estate attorney who specializes in foreclosure cases

"People need to know cash-back deals are illegal and stop doing them. Lenders need to crack down. People have started to lose a little money in the Valley's real estate market, but maybe when major money is being lost, lenders will get serious and do something to stop it."

Margie O'Campo de Castillo

Arizona Dream Realty

"We are on the alert to protect the public from these cash-back shenanigans. If we see it happening, we are going to turn those people in."

John Foltz

President of Phoenix-based Realty Executives

"Cash-back deals are a big problem. Our members started hollering about them a couple of months ago. Lenders are funding loans for more than properties are worth. Its inflating home prices. It is really scary. We need regulatory agencies to crack down on it. And we need consumers to know they shouldn't do it."

Michelle Lind

General counsel for the Arizona Realtors Association

"If somebody wanted to stretch the value on a home, probably not difficult to find an appraiser out there willing do it. That's why big mortgage lenders work with a small number of established appraisers. Cash-back sales are hurting comps in neighborhoods. Somebody overpays for a house with a cash back deal, and then somebody else comes in and wants to buy the house next door. The last buyer is making a major decision based on inaccurate market information."

Jay Luber

Vice president of First Horizon Home Loans of Phoenix

keith said...

Oh, I call bullsh*t on the realtor association heads who are just shocked, SHOCKED, to see fraud inflating values

Bullsh*t. They knew damn well what was going on, high-fived down the hallways for the past five years, and celebrated all the way to the bank

Jailtime awaits so many in Phoenix and around the US

Paul E. Math said...

It's funny, but it never occurred to me before that a cash-back home sale is, by definition, fraudulent. But I believe it is.

The real sale price and, therefore, the real home value is the nominal price minus the cash-back. So anyone taking out a mortgage as though the nominal price was the actual value of the house is involved in a fraudulent mortgage.

All those cash-back deals by the homebuilders involve purchasers in mortgage fraud.

Anonymous said...

Fraud is committed only if the lender is unaware that the buyer is receiving cash back at closing. Most lenders are fully aware especially if they are lending on new home developments. The fraud is committed mostly by mortgage brokers that are not disclosing the cash back to the primary lender.

Anonymous said...

Mortgage fraud through cash back, it's going on all over the U.S. realitor schools don't even give it a second glance. I've heard of folks all over the eastern parts doing it and for a while now.

Anonymous said...

2 kids fighting in the playground when the teacher walks up.

The first one who shouts, "HE started it!" thinks he'll get off easier.

FB's lining up with foreclosures, new junk cobbled houses, and that ever favorite victimization look: "duh... the big smart man took advantage of poor little 'ol me... duh"

REIC lining up with gasps of moral outrage that these buyers and sellers could sink to such low and gastly practices.

Both pointing at the other as the bad times start and shouting, "HE started it!!"

Hoping that it might go a little easier on them for being the first one to cry foul.

Anonymous said...

"There won't be enough room in any of their current jails to house all the convicts!"

Good news...I think you've just found the next bubble!

Anonymous said...

Still no posting on bloodhoundblog on this cash back debacle

Oh, the silence is deafening!

Greg Swann is toast

Anonymous said...

Time2buy

Todd Tarson said...

Oh, I call bullsh*t on the realtor association heads who are just shocked, SHOCKED, to see fraud inflating values

They are not shocked that the fraud is inflating values. These people that you quoted know the fraud is a scam and it is illegal. There is much concern about this scam.

Bullsh*t. They knew damn well what was going on, high-fived down the hallways for the past five years, and celebrated all the way to the bank

No, you are wrong. There was no high 'fiving' among the leadership of the Association. Both the association and brokers have been on the hunt for agents involved in these scams, knowingly or otherwise.

I just sat in a room with 150 other members yesterday in our annual professional standards committee workshop. This was brought up as a case study on how to handle ethics violations involving realtor members. One fellow committee members said the first thing to do should be placing a call to the attorney general and everyone else applauded.

A mere few realtor members are involved in this scam. The leadership and brokers are actively pursuing any member working this scam and reporting them to the department of real estate (government), authorities (government), and severing such members from employment (self policing).

Jailtime awaits so many in Phoenix and around the US

This is true and I totally agree. All parties to such a transaction should know that ALL parties could be found guilty of fraud. That means the sellers and buyers (who are not in the REIC)... and realtors, appraisers, and lenders.

I have no issue with you bringing up this scam and shedding light on it. It needs to be done. I do think you are overstating and sensationalizing the facts on the amount of transactions are done in this scam. Pretending like all realtors are in cahoots is just plain silly. You should know better.

Burn the guilty, I'll help collect the wood for the blaze. Don't play the guilt by association card though.

strat3go said...

Let's report all these ads on Craigslist as fraud to the Craigslist's admnistrators, so they can take them off the site. I hate that Craigslist was taken over by these realtor bloodsuckers. All the ads there are from realtors who are now trying to make money with inflated rents, since nothing is selling.