GREFPAC News Jan. – Mar. 2010

Jan. – Mar. 2010


Get Ready for the 6th Annual Educational Conference The 6th Annual Conference will be held February 12, 2010 at the Cobb Galleria Centre, with a networking reception the night before. Outstanding speakers, including regulatory agency representatives, will alert you to evolving fraud trends and offer training on best practices to detect and prevent fraud. CE credits will be available for attorneys, mortgage bankers/brokers, real estate licensees, appraisers, and CFEs. Online registration is open now at

April Educational Meeting Planned The next quarterly educational meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 14. Details will be posted to the GREFPAC website and emailed as they become available.

December Educational Meeting RecapThe theme of the December 2 educational meeting was “Preventing Mortgage Fraud in Reverse Mortgage Originations.” Attendees learned the nuts and bolts of reverse mortgages and received invaluable information on reverse mortgage fraud schemes being perpetrated. We appreciate the insight provided by our speakers: Gale McKenzie, Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Tracy Wise, Sales Manager, Reverse Mortgage Division, Axxa Mortgage; and Cortez Richardson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, HUD Office of the Inspector General.

GREFPAC Online Membership Now AvailableGREFPAC is pleased to announce a new online registration and member database system. The system will allow members to easily renew their memberships as well as update their member profiles or register for a meeting. The system also allows new members to join any time throughout the year. Please see the “Quick Links” section at the right to join, renew or update your profile.


FBI Assistant Director’s Testimony Before Senate Committee Covers Mortgage Fraud, Foreclosure Rescue Scams Federal Bureau of Investigation | December 9, 2009“I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today about the FBI’s ongoing efforts to combat significant financial crimes. As we all know, financial fraud, to include mortgage, corporate, and securities fraud, were not the primary sources of the current financial crisis; collectively however, these frauds have significantly impacted the U.S. housing and financial markets.”

Federal and State Agencies Target Mortgage Relief Scams Federal Trade Commission | November 24, 2009Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, joined by U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, and Assistant Attorney General Tony West of the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, announced Operation Stolen Hope as part of a continuing federal-state crackdown on alleged mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams. The operation involves 118 actions by 26 federal and state agencies.
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President Obama Establishes Interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force U.S. Dept. of the Treasury | November 17, 2009Attorney General Eric Holder, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairwoman Mary Schapiro announced that President Barack Obama has established by Executive Order an interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to strengthen efforts to combat financial crime. The task force, which replaces the Corporate Fraud Task Force established in 2002, will build upon efforts already underway to combat mortgage, securities and corporate fraud by increasing coordination and fully utilizing the resources and expertise of the government’s law enforcement and regulatory apparatus.
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MARI Issues Quarterly Fraud Report Mortgage Asset Research Institute-LexisNexis | November 2009Like Mortgage Asset Research Institute’s annual Mortgage Fraud Case Reports to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Mortgage Asset Research Institute Quarterly Fraud Report is intended to provide industry insight into current and emerging fraud trends, as well as enable awareness of pending mortgage fraud risk. Our quarterly analyses provide more in-depth discussions of fraud types and trends over a shorter period of time. In this analysis of loans originated during the fourth quarter of 2008, we will show that the mortgage fraud landscape is beginning to change as a result of increased industry awareness of and attention to fraud.
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National Campaign Empowers Homeowners to Combat Loan Modification Scams NeighborWorks America | October 26, 2009In Los Angeles, a partnership of local, state and national government agencies, nonprofit organizations and financial institutions gathered at City Hall to launch a national public education campaign designed to help homeowners protect themselves against loan modification scams, find trusted help and report illegal activity to authorities. This was the first of several kickoff events scheduled to announce the “Loan Modification Scam Alert” campaign rollout in major cities across the country.
>>Read More


Atlanta Man Indicted in Alleged “Short Sale” Fraud Related to the Failed Omni National BankU.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ga. | December 22, 2009Brent Merriell, 37, of Atlanta, Georgia indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of aggravated identity theft and false statements to the FDIC, waived his detention hearing before United States Magistrate Judge Russell G. Vineyard, and has been immediately detained. The indictment charging Merriell was filed on December 15, 2009, and unsealed December 21, 2009 with his arrest.
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Atlanta U.S. Attorney’s Office Employees Recognized at Annual U.S. Attorney Awards Ceremony U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ga. | December 4, 2009The Department of Justice held its 26th annual Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA) Director’s Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C. Among the award recipients were the Northern District of Georgia’s Deputy Chief of the Economic Crime Section Barbara Nelan and Special Assistant United States Attorney Richard Reed, who received a Director’s Award for Superior Performance By an Assistant United States Attorney for their remarkably hard and diligent work in the complex investigation and successful prosecution of a massive, $112 million mortgage fraud scheme.
>>Read More

Department of Banking and Finance Enters into Consent Orders Ga. Dept. of Banking and Finance | October-December 2009The Georgia Department of Banking and Finance has entered into several consent orders with various companies and individuals to resolve allegations pertaining to violations of the Georgia Residential Mortgage Act and agency rules. Some orders recite allegations of false statements or misrepresentations to lenders or include provisions that require attendance at Department-approved education courses in mortgage fraud.
>> Read More

Ga. Cases Part of National “Operation Stolen Hope” Ga. Dept. of Banking and Finance | November 24, 2009Georgia Banking Commissioner Robert Braswell joined federal and state officials to crack down on alleged loan modification and foreclosure relief scams, by the issuance of Cease and Desist Orders against individuals and companies who allegedly advertised unlicensed loan modification services.
>>Read More

Former Ga. Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Multimillion Dollar Real Estate Ponzi Scheme U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ga. | November 5, 2009Steven H. Ballard, 53, of McDonough, Georgia, was sentenced by United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. to serve over five years in federal prison on a wire fraud charge involving a real estate investment scam that lasted over five years and defrauded a dozen victims in Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.
>> Read More

Former Mortgage Broker Pleads Guilty to a $20 Million Mortgage Fraud, Real Estate Investment Scam and Check Kiting SchemeU.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ga. | November 5, 2009Edward William Farley, 47, of Hoschton, Georgia, pleaded guilty in federal district court to committing a mortgage fraud, a real estate investment “Ponzi” scam involving over 150 victims, a check-kiting scheme and a bankruptcy fraud. According to Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates and the information presented in court: Farley, a former mortgage broker, operated through “Creative Home Search,” “Southern Land Partners,” “Georgia Land Group,” and “Global Mortgage” in Dunwoody and Norcross, Georgia, to defraud mortgage lenders through same-day “flips” of properties located in Buford, College Park, Conyers, Cumming, Dacula, Grayson, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, Norcross, Marietta, Roswell, Snellville, and Suwanee.
>>Read More
Copyright 2010 Georgia Real Estate Fraud Prevention and Awareness Coalition, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of the Georgia Real Estate Fraud Prevention and Awareness Coalition, Inc. or GREFPAC names or logos is prohibited. You may reproduce a reasonable number of copies of this newsletter for your own personal use or for non-commercial distribution, but all all copies must be unmodified and must include the above copyright notice. Reproduction or distribution of this newsletter for commercial purposes is prohibited. GREFPAC cannot guarantee that material accessible from this newsletter is free of viruses or other malicious code, and GREFPAC does not accept any responsibility for any loss caused by any such code. GREFPAC is not responsible for any third party content, products or services that may be accessed through this newsletter, and the availability of links in this newsletter to such third party content, products or services should not be construed as referrals to, or endorsements of, the linked entities or the content, products or services that they make available. GREFPAC will cease providing links from future issues of this newsletter upon request from the linked party. The information in this newsletter is presented as general information and is not intended to be, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. You should not rely on information in this newsletter or its applicability to any specific questions or circumstances without first seeking your own professional’s advice. GREFPAC is not a law firm and does not offer professional legal services. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a confidential or lawyer-client relationship. The act of contacting GREFPAC will not create a confidential or lawyer-client relationship, and your communication will not be treated as confidential. GREFPAC makes no warranties, representations, or claims of any kind concerning the information available from, or the distribution of, this newsletter. GREFPAC and contributing authors expressly disclaim all liability to any person in respect of the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done wholly or partly in reliance upon the use or contents of this newsletter. The information contained in this newsletter may concern allegations made in civil lawsuits and in criminal indictments. Such allegations may be found by the court to be untrue. All persons are presumed innocent of criminal allegations until convicted of a crime. Court opinions may be subject to the parties’ motion for reconsideration, the court’s reconsideration, and editorial changes made by the reporter of decisions. We are eager to make corrections quickly and candidly. An aggrieved party need not have a letter to the editor published for us to correct a mistake. We will publish corrections on our own and in our voice as soon as we are told about them and can confirm them.
Annual GREFPAC Conference
Cobb Galleria CentreApr. 14, 2010Tentative
Quarterly GREFPAC Educational Meeting

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Atlanta, GA 30327

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