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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You Go Girl!

Wow! I like how the lady in the article on CNN online carried out her mission. She noticed that houses in her neighborhood were being sold but no one ever moved into those houses. She saw that UPS delivered packages to those homes and thought that was odd since, supposedly, no one lived there.

"I went to the courthouse and start looking at deed records and sanitation records and water records that I realized it wasn't just these ... 18 or 20 houses in my neighborhood," Fulmer said."

She added"It was houses all over the county. And ... I kept seeing the same names in these transactions over and over and over again."

Here's how it works:

# John Doe, a con artist, buys your house for $200,000 -- but then has the home appraised for $400,000.

# Jane Doe, a second buyer, uses a fake identity to get approved for a $400,000 loan. The loan officer approves the loan, and the original owner gets their $200,000 in cash.

# John Doe, the second buyer, the loan officer, and the settlement agent split the rest of the money -- $200,000 -- and default on the mortgage.

# The home goes into foreclosure and the scammers move on to their next house.

Ann Fullmer was terrified that the criminals doing this would find out that she was the one turning them in. She has led the police to arrest many in this scam that drives property values down.

"This is a problem devastating whole neighborhoods, whole communities, and that the real victims were the individuals whose homes where being destroyed in value," said U.S. Attorney Dave Nahmias.

Fulmer now trains FBI agents and lenders with the company Interthinx to recognize mortgage fraud, which costs lenders between $1 billion and $4 billion last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

To date, Fulmer says she has helped put away more than 300 mortgage fraudsters.