Seven people were indicted in Florida in connection with allegations that they obtained over $2M in home equity though a scheme where they talked homeowners into selling their homes in order to avoid foreclosure and then stripped the equity from the homes. Those indicted on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements in connection with loan applications were:
Ramzy Moumneh aka Ramsey Moumneh, 36, Tampa, Florida
Kamal Moumneh, aka Kamal Renno, 37, Tampa, Florida, brother of Ramzy Moumneh who, with his broker, owned and controlled First Hanover Mortgage Corp, Properties Management Corporation (PMC) fka Investors Management Corporation and Consecutive Management and Payment, Inc.
Amy Hudd, aka Amy Paukner, 35, employed at First Hanover, PMC and Consecutive Management
Demetrios J. Voiklis aka James Voiklis, 31, attorney who did business as Juris Title and acted as a closing agent for real estate transactions
Chuong X. Dam, 32, business associate of Ramzy and Kamal Moumneh, owned and controlled Maxx Financial, Inc.
Kimberly Brothers, 27, worked at Juris Title and acted as a closing agent with respect to real estate transactions.
According to the indictment, the defendants would target homeowners who had accumulated equity in their homes and were facing foreclosure. They would send letters to the homeowners claiming that First Hanover created the Foreclosure Alliance Program to give people a better way out of foreclosure and possibly bankruptcy by enabling the homeowner to keep the home, save their credit and sometimes put money in the bank. They would represent that by participating in the program, homeowners were merely refinancing their existing mortgage loans through a third-party investor, when, in fact, the homeowners were decided into executing deeds conveying their homes to third party investors.
Third party investors would be recruited. These third party investors did not actually make any investment but would actually be paid by the defendants for use of their credit. The third party investors would act as straw borrowers to obtain mortgage loans against the homes. The defendants prepared documents and papers associated with the investors purchase of the properties. The loan documents contained false representations that the investors intended to use the properties as their primary residences.
The defendants would then arrange for the sale of the homeownerâ€™s homes to the third party investors and arrange for mortgages that exceeded the amount of the mortgages the homeowners originally had against the properties. Homeowners were given documents to sign, including deeds, without having a chance to read and review and without being provided with copies. The defendants would also forge homeownersâ€™ signatures on documents.
The closings of the transactions were conducted so that the third party investors did not have to produce any funds at closing.
The conspirators would create sham documents entitled â€œDemand Pay Off Statementâ€ representing that PMC and Maxx Financial held liens on the homes. The claimed liens were approximately in the amount of the homeownersâ€™ equity. They would then submit these payoffs demands to Brokers, Voiklis and another closing agent. The closing agents would disburse the mortgage proceeds to PMC and Maxx Financial in accordance with the demands. The conspirators also prepared inaccurate settlement statements.
According to media reports, Lucretia Junge, 31, was also charge in the scheme and has agreed to plead guilty to criminal information charging her with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.