Thirteen defendants were indicted on mortgage fraud offenses involving nearly $13 million in fraudulent loans in Ohio, ""according to a statement"":http://www.prosecutormason.com/mnc.aspx?type=PressRelease&mcid=737 from county prosecutor Bill Mason and the Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force.[IMAGE]
The task force operates under Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio's Organized Crime Investigations Commission.
Defendants included a supervisor, account managers, and appraisers formerly working for Argent Mortgage Company.
Argent was one of the largest subprime home loan originators in Cuyahoga County from 2003 to 2005. It was acquired and folded into Citigroup's operations in August of 2008.[COLUMN_BREAK]
The former employees of Argent are accused of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity by falsifying mortgage loan documents on 100 loans for 100 houses that did not meet the lender's standards.
""The securitization and selling of these fraudulent subprime loans on Wall Street typified the rampant greed of the industry that ultimately led to the financial crisis,"" said prosecutor Mason.
The defendants were involved with buyers of residential real estate mainly located in Cuyahoga and Summit counties. The loans were secured by a mortgage received by Argent, which later sold the note or mortgage/securities to investors.
With assistance from Argent mortgage brokers and employees, agents, or independent contractors, the buyers submitted signed false and fraudulent loan applications to Argent's processing center in Illinois in order for the buyer to purchase real estate in Cuyahoga or Summit counties.
In these various loan applications, the buyers misstated the amount of their assets, their income, the source of or existence of any down payment, the existence of a legitimate seller carryback mortgage, and other basic and fundamental financial information regarding their financial conditions in order to gain approval for the loan amounts requested, which totaled nearly $13 million.
These loans were used on houses sold by or through Uri Gofman, who was indicted in one of the largest residential mortgage fraud case in the nation.