Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Another local indictment

According to the Grand Jury Indictment filed January 20, 2010, Susan Lynn Maroon defrauded Guaranty Bank. Ms. Maroon was a mortgage broker who was the owner of Maroon Mortgage in Eldridge, Iowa. Guaranty Bank required that Ms. Maroon's borrowers had $500 in the bank to qualify for the loan. Apparently these particular borrowers did not have enough money in the bank to qualify. The indictment says that over a period of five days, she gave the borrowers a total of $1,250 to put in their account, and then, after Guaranty verified that the borrowers had the money in their bank, Ms. Maroon had the borrowers withdraw the money and return it to her. Of course, logic would tell us that since these folks did not even have $500 of their own money in their bank account prior to closing, they might default on the loan. They did. The indictment claims that Guaranty lost more than $88,000 after the borrowers defaulted.

What can be the justification here? That she was trying to help these folks out by allowing them to purchase a home? They lost their home and their credit is trashed. Sure, the borrowers have responsibility here, but they would not have been able to get in this position without the complicity of Ms. Maroon as alleged in the indictment. If you really want to help someone in such a situation, tell them to come back when they were in a position to legitimately qualify for the loan, maybe even give them suggestions on how they could get there.

According to PACER, the trial is set for April 5, 2010.

Update: The trial has been continued to May 3, 2010.

Update 2: The trial has been continued to August 2, 2010.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Scam Directed at Veterans

A client recently received a letter from Department of Veterans Assistance. Sounds suspiciously like Department of Veterans Affairs, no? It is not a government agency, which you can plainly see by reading the 5 point type buried at the bottom of the page. But they have a fancy military looking shield for a logo, their document is entitled IRRRL-1030 Benefit Allotment Form 792-B Eligibility Notification Reinvestment Initiative, and shows a very government looking "Case #." And when they answer the telephone, the automated attendant says, "Welcome to the Mortgage Division." Even though they are "not a part of any government agency, they are sure trying to, um, imply?, otherwise.

The letter advises that the Department of Housing Assistance (not the Department of Housing and Urban Development. No, no, not even close!) "in accordance with the 2009 Economic Stimulus Act must inform Federally Insured homeowners that FHA or VA insured mortgages must reflect the rate modifications passed by this office" Um, what? It goes on in excruciating faux-government-speak to tell you that you MUST call or horrible things will happen, and you are foolish if you do not call because you might get to skip TWO MONTHS of payments. That can happen with any refinance. You just pay the interest at closing. Notice, they do NOT say you get to skip two months of interest. The letter is signed by the Director of Veterans Assistance, Cynthia Moore. What a lofty title, Cynthia.

Maybe they have a nice interest rate and reasonable fees for our veterans. But the underhanded way they try to get them to call leads me to believe that may not be the case. In case you were not counting, we have three different names for this outfit. I almost forgot to mention that even though their address is a PO Box in Washington, DC (are there few government agencies in that town?), the letter was apparently mailed from California.