LAWFUEL – New York Times Report – The three women call themselves the All-Broad Fraud Squad.
Nearly a decade ago, concerned that mortgage fraud was threatening their pastoral towns, the women — two full-time mothers and a mortgage executive then in their 40s — got together to write down license plate numbers of suspicious cars in their neighborhoods, scour public documents for housing titles and deeds and seek the help of local law enforcement. At first they were ignored, written off as bored housewives.
Today, the three women — Ann Fulmer, Alicia Sheppard and Julia Barrette — are helping train F.B.I. agents, speaking to lending associations across the country and lecturing college students on how to identify mortgage fraud.
“For us in the industry, we could deal with mortgage fraud during the day but go to our homes at night and forget about it,” said Matt Wade with Fannie Mae in Atlanta. “But for these gutsy women, it was personal.”
The women’s upper-middle-class neighborhoods have almost nothing in common with the places where mortgage fraud has recently made headlines — like the more than $40 million scheme uncovered last fall in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Indianapolis.
Yet from coast to coast, these frauds often work the same way: Buyers gain control of properties at a low price and then sell them quickly at a big profit, rigging the game every step of the way by procuring bogus property appraisals and using false or stolen identities to obtain mortgages. While the scam artists profit in these flipping schemes, the lenders are ultimately the losers, left holding the bag when the loan on the home ultimately defaults.