Mortgage scammer of the week
Like death and taxes, mortgage fraud is something you can count on -- no matter what the housing market looks like. A Laurel man just pleaded guilty to defrauding a lender of $428,000 in a scheme that was orchestrated at the end of 2008, against a backdrop of slumping sales and tightened lending requirements.
In the statement of facts attached to the plea agreement, Olu Campbell said he worked up a plan with an associate to convince a lender to extend mortgages on three Baltimore homes by making the purchases appear legitimate.
Campbell, who used to go by Oluseun Oshosanya, had worked as a loan officer and home renovator. His associate had appraisal experience. Together, they used that background to apply for loans on two of the properties -- just not as themselves.
Instead, they used the names and Social Security numbers of other men who had no idea they were being caught up in the fraud. Falsified details and documents were thrown in for good measure. According to the statement of facts, Campbell's associate produced a pay stub, W-2 wage statement and monthly statements from a bank -- all fake -- for one of the transactions.
But wait, there's more: Campbell himself showed up at that settlement with a doctored driver's license so he could pass himself off as the man whose identity he lifted.
Those two mortgages went into default almost immediately, as you can imagine, since the people whose names were on the loans had no idea they had supposedly purchased homes. The third transaction involved a straw buyer who knew her information would be used, and who paid the mortgage for about a year before defaulting.
What was in it for Campbell? A lot of money, he admitted to investigators. In a single transaction, about $110,000 went to his contracting company, Metropolitan Housing Associates LLC, "for the ostensible purpose of paying a 'contractor invoice,'" the statement of facts says.
"Campbell used $20,000.00 of his proceeds to purchase a used BMW," it adds in an aside.