Real Estate Agent with Rosen&Company West

                      MORTGAGE FRAUD

A mortgage transaction of intentional misrepresentation.  People usually benefit financially.  Sometimes they get rich and sometimes they go to jail. 

                                                  THE USUAL SUSPECTS

A. Straw Borrower or Straw Buyer. The intentions that lie in the mind of the Straw Buyer are usually not about hearth and home.  The Straw Buyer is normally used as a shill to fool the lender into thinking the property is being transacted as a normal purchase when in fact they will never occupy the home and in some cases will never make a single payment on it.  Straw Buyers are usually cultivated buy the Ringleader who gets them in the game for a portion of the profit made on the grift. A good candidate for a Straw Buyer is a transient worldly person whom possesses no long terms goals, needs money fast and can leave the Country on short notice, alleviating burdens and embarrassments not only for the Ringleader but for the rest of the team as well.     

B. The Ringleader.  The Ringleader likes to act behind the scenes somewhat like a director of a movie or play.  He enjoys pulling on the strings of the players while he goes through the creative process of clearly defining and fleshing out their character and roles. The Ringleader rarely holds any type of licensing or certification because it is not in his or hers best interest.  Stealth and anonymity is the preferred form of most Ringleaders.  They rarely show up at political rallies, upper-crust social gatherings or community functions.  The more advanced Ringleader has an exit strategy that differs from most exit strategies seen in boiler-plate type of business plans.  Their exit strategy has more to do with eventually getting out of the Country with their skin still intact or finding a place where they can live the rest of their lives in obscurity once they have reached their financial goals.  In theory the exit strategy seems responsible on the part of the Ringleader, but it does not always work well in reality, mainly because Ringleaders tend to be quite greedy and keep redefining their goals by setting the financial bar higher and higher as time goes on. This mindset can expose the Achilles Heel of the Ringleader by keeping them in the game too long causing them too much exposure and eventual capture. 

C. Buyer/Seller Broker or Real Estate Agent. Like the Straw Buyers the Broker/Agent are usually cultivated by the Ringleader.  Although corrupt Brokers and Agents come a dime a dozen in a town like Las Vegas, they are indispensable to the Ringleader for purposes of feigning legitimacy.  A seasoned Ringleader will put Brokers through a rigorous application and interview process.  Before a Broker for employment in this area they should seriously consider broadening their knowledge base and seeking coaching if they hope to be successful getting through to a top position after going through the application and interview process.  Although Brokers and Agents may have a natural propensity for illegal acts and take to the subject like a duck to water continuing education is advisable.  Any corrupt individual can get tripped up with questions like:

•1.      Have you ever lost a privileged licensed due to illegal activity such as fraud or embezzlement? 

•2.      Have you ever been convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor?  If so please explain. If a crime was committed at your former place of employment please include all the details about how you did it and how long it took you to get caught. 

•3.      Have you filed for bankruptcy within the last seven years?  If you have filed in last seven years was it for over at least six-figures?  Did you concentrate your efforts on a single entity, individual, organization or did you spread it across the board? 

•4.      Are you a people person?  If you are please explain why. 

•5.      How would you rate yourself as a Public Speaker using between 1 and 5 as the metric?

•6.      Do you have a conscience?  If you do have a conscience how big is it and how hard is it for you to control?

•7.      Do you consider yourself and sociopath?  If the answer is yes can you provide clinical and or empirical proof?    

•8.      Have you ever committed arson?  If you have not committed arson are you open to the idea?

•9.      Have you ever served in the Military?    YES____         NO____10. If you have served in the Military or government branch of the Armed Services what was the level of you Security Clearance?

•10.  Were you ever accused or convicted of desertion, espionage or treason?  If you were never accused or convicted of desertion, espionage or treason please explain why in 500 words or less. 

Stanly Kaplan has recently added "Ten Easy Steps on How to Commit Bank Fraud" to this year's curriculum package.  Although the course is a bit costly it is worth the price of admission. For more information on ground and online classes please go to -


Although one is willing to concede there are exceptions to consider when defining personality types, in the grand scheme of things there are really only three types of people who gravitate to this profession.  The first type, we will call him Type Number One, no matter how much he may protest, takes his job very seriously.  He follows a strict moral code, obeys the law, feels a fiduciary responsibility to his client's, never entertains the idea of embellishing a client's financial position and will always refuse to alter documents.   This person's sense of duty and misguided moral nature almost always causes them to fully disclose all necessary details to the underwriter without feeling any guilt or sense of remorse; they actually feel a sense of pride and pleasure for their actions.  Type Number One will be the first in line to blow the whistle on any activity they deem as shady or underhanded.  Never offer these people special incentives or kickbacks because they will extract a sadistic sense of satisfaction and self-righteousness by turning these things down and reporting you to the authorities.  Never trust or confide in Type Number One.  These people should constantly be fed misinformation and kept in the dark about all illegal transactions.  As unfortunate as it may seem these types of people make it necessary to put locks on desk drawers and file cabinets.   

Type Number Two can be an insidious character and can be a more destructive force than Type Number One could ever hope to beAlthough no one likes Type Number One they do not hide who they are and what they are capable of doing.  Even though they are snakes they have tails that rattle warnings.  This is not the case with Type Number Two who has a weak and ill-defined character.  Deep down this type has a larceny streak as long as the con-artist's, but because they do not have the guts to set their inner-thief free, they suffer an incomprehensible internal struggle of consciousness and will.  Unless something drastic like a life altering experience happens to Type Number Two their cowardice is always the victor of their internal conquest.  This inner-turmoil leaves Type Number Two filled with jealousy, hate and self-contempt.  His real desire to be in the game with the con-artist is vanquished by denial and fear.  This person becomes very dangerous when their frustration and self-loathing turns them into temporary do-gooders and whistle blowers.  Unlike Type Number One Type Number Two feels a strong sense of remorse and guilt when he rats out a crew. This type is prone to long bouts of depression that may result in self-affliction like alcoholism, drug abuse and even suicide. Unfortunately Type Number Two makes up the majority of this profession.  Statistics and Actuary Charts have shown them to be over 60% of the population.

Type Number Three is your guy or your gal. They are born to lie, cheat and steal.  They have no sense of honesty, scruples, or fair-play.  Type Number Three is a predator who will stop at nothing to get what he or she wants.  They are often entertaining and fun to be around.  They will wine dine and shoulder up to you in a way that appears like you have finally found they one true friend.  They will ask you for advice, ask you for favors, baby sit your children.  They will go to any extreme to prove their loyalty and love for you while they set you up for the kill.      

Stay tuned for the rest of the story.


Comments (2)

Robert May
Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate - Lethbridge, AB
Real estate consulting

Thank goodness our industry has taken some steps to help prevent this from happening and to protect the consumer.  There are many juristictions that still have rampant levels of this crime I believe.

Apr 11, 2009 07:29 PM
Robin Basichis
Rosen&Company West - Las Vegas, NV

Yes, Robert, and this is one of them.  I have lots of stories about what went on here in Las Vegas and what still goes here in Las Vegas.  I will tell some good human interest stories in my upcoming blogs. Not everything single thing that happens in Vegas can possibly stay here in Vegas.

Apr 14, 2009 05:55 PM