Virginia Man Convicted of Straw Buyer Scheme

admin —  August 10, 2009 — 3 Comments

Godwin Asifo, 55, Woodbridge, Virginia, has been convicted of two counts of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud for running a mortgage fraud scheme that resulted in the foreclosure of at least three homes in northern Virginia. Asifo faces a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison and full restitution when he is sentenced on Nov. 20, 2009.

Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and Joseph Persichini Jr., Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton.

According to court documents and as previously reported on Mortgage Fraud Blog, from about May 2005 to June 2006, Asifo recruited straw buyers to purchase at least three homes on his behalf, promising to pay the mortgages and sell the homes for a profit within six months. To ensure the buyers could obtain the loans, he helped to inflate their incomes on loan applications, falsify employment records and provide them with thousands of dollars to artificially inflate their bank accounts.

The three homes – located in Woodbridge, Haymarket, and Ashburn, Virginia, and ranging between $335,000 to $765,000 when purchased – were not sold for profit as expected, and the straw buyers ultimately defaulted on the loans because they were not able to afford the mortgage payments, resulting in substantial losses to the lenders.

This case was investigated by the Washington Field Office of the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Jack Hanly is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

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3 responses to Virginia Man Convicted of Straw Buyer Scheme

  1. I agree with Martin and would add that mortgage brokers have also been adversely impacted and continue to be regulated by everyone and their brother to the detriment of our industry and the better interest of the customers who want a competitive loan from a reputable broker.
    We do everything we can to properly disclose and vett our clients and prevent fraud, but those who regulate our industry continue to think that they know what they are doing when they impose restrictions, not fully understanding the unintended consequences.
    HVCC for instance has jacked up the price for appraisals, resulted in inaccurate, flawed and unuseable appraisals; not mention that if the loan doesn’t get approved by the first lender, which happens a lot these days, the customer must pay for yet another appraisal as the lenders do not accept an appraisal done for another lender.
    This, in addition to the previous comments by the poster named Martin, should give you some idea of the problems created by just one of the new regulations. There are many more and they all come with their own lunacy.

  2. Things in the housing industry are getting worse. I am a State Certified/FHA appraiser of almost 10 years I can’t even make an honest living any more because of the stupid HVCC ideal. Why in the world would our government allow a bunch of companies (AMC) to pop up out of no where and start conducting appraisal business? They have no ideal what there doing, theirs no regulation and It takes twice as long for the homeowner to get there appraisal and close their loan, The AMC give the work the least qualified appraiser they can find so that they will keep more of the $350.00 fee. AMC’s put just as much pressure on appraisers if not more to meet certain dollar amount on the appraisal. With AMC’s getting most of the pay that the professional appraiser use to get, what’s the incentive to continue to go on, where the incentive to keep getting educated and advance in our field. PEOPLE have you forgotten the saving and loan issues? In the entire real estate transaction the professional appraiser has the most education, has to be responsible for each appraisal for 5 years and carrier the most E & O insurance. This means more than the loan officer who normally make a thousand to several thousand on each deal. More than the Sales agents who make normally several thousand dollars on each deal. Where is the sense in it all? It’s crazy. The appraiser makes $200.00 now if were luck for days of work and now we might only get 5- 10 a month. But our government wants appraisers to be responsible for 5 years when the other professionals in the transaction forget about it after the deal closes and they get paid. Why is this? It’s because someone at Fannie Mae and the ABA had a brain fart. Come on people; remember the appraiser is the eyes and ears for you all. You think the way to stop mortgage fraud was to take the contact between lenders and appraisers out of the picture. WRONG!!! What about the Sales agent, you don’t think the sales agent is standing there beside the appraiser saying (I know my listing is wroth at least XYZ,) or (the one down the street just sold for XYZ ad it’s not as nice as mine inside). How about this on, (Here are some comps I picked that are just like the subject) and then there is aging the AMC’s (we will pay $200 and I need this report back in two days.) Then the AMC’s have what they call on staff review appraisers. Well guess what? These AMC’s still answer to their clients the lenders. And the AMC’s know that if every appraisal report they send to there client is below the target price they won’t get any more work from that lender. So these staff review appraisers look at the appraisal report from let say California and the appraisal was performed in New York. The subject is a smaller but very nice well built home waterfront property. The only comps in the same competing market are home that are similar but much larger and due to all the amenities theirs going to be allot of adjustments. Ok, now the comps all sold lets say around the $1.8 million range. Well they are allot bigger you make your adjustments and the conclusion is a value of $1.6 million and the AMC’s reviewer calls and says hey our client is going to accept this appraisal because all the comps sold for 1.8 but you came in at 1.6 you have to do something. Well what’s the appraiser to do? I can tell you what I, I show them that the subject is not worth 1.8 and that I can only justified 1.6. Guess what? I don’t get any more work from that AMC and it’s been about 3 months now. So in conclusion my thoughts are to the powers to be, you don’t need to kill one industry (Appraisal Business) to combat mortgage fraud. All you need to do is what the entire USA does on any other crime Like DWI’s You make the Penalties and fines harder and let the entire real estate world know that if they are caught in the act of committing a crime there will be hell to pay!!!!!! And you tell the real estate world that the powers to be can pull any appraisal at random for a review and investigate any lender or sales agent at random. This will have more of an effect than popping up with a newer fly in the mix like AMC’s. Appraising is hard work and serious business it take a lot of time, education and money to become a certified appraiser, and even more to become a Certified General appraiser. We deserve to be paid fairly and that will never happen with AMC’s

  3. Why doesn’t the Great President Obama do something to change, prevent and/or stop mortgage fraud from occuring? He has not done one thing he has promised to do and this is a big ONE. Is is because the USA is a country for the rich by the rich and governed by the elitists? I never believed in conspiracy theories and things like that until ‘subprime lending’ and the bank bailouts but all empirical evidence supports that the USA is going to hell in a handbasket.

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