Sunday, March 8, 2009

Robert Shumake, Mortgage Fraud Victim, is on a Mission to Generate Public Awareness

As real estate values decline and mortgage guidelines get tougher, fraudsters will devise new and improved schemes to exploit the weaknesses in the market

Detroit, MI -- According to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, mortgage fraud is one of the fastest growing white-collar crimes in the country. Robert Shumake found this out the hard way, when he was the victim of mortgage fraud.

When Shumake tried to sell a house that he purchased and fixed up, he found out that someone had “stolen” the property and removed his name from the title with a fraudulent quit claim deed! The new owner had moved into the home and took out building permits to work on the property.

It took 2-1/2 years and nearly $60,000 in legal fees to resolve the matter. Mortgage fraud is hard to prove with signed agreements and documents in place and recorded. It is possible to spend thousands of dollars and still not get your property back.

Anyone can be a victim of mortgage fraud, even a real estate industry professional like Shumake, who is the owner of Inheritance Capital Group in Detroit, a company who manages and develops real estate. Robert’s experience led him to join with Michigan state officials to launch a mortgage fraud task force to aid victims of mortgage fraud and promote consumer awareness and prevention.

Robert Shumake’s mission is to inform the public about mortgage fraud and real estate scams and to provide tips on how to avoid being a victim. “Sometimes people will commit identity theft to obtain a housing loan, sell someone else’s house or take over someone else’s property,” says Shumake. “It is my goal to inform the public on how to protect themselves from being victims of this crime.”

Robert Shumake has written many articles on mortgage fraud and real estate scams. His newest blog contains information and tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.


Robert Shumake
Inheritance Capital Group, Inc
25900 West 11 Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48034
Phone: 248-443-0939

Robert Shumake “Mortgage Fraud Alert: Predatory Lenders“

Robert Shumake “Mortgage Fraud Alert: Predatory Lenders“

Predatory lenders are lenders who commit mortgage fraud to help homeowners get a higher loan. They may obtain inflated appraisals, falsify income information or do whatever it takes to qualify the borrower for a mortgage. In many cases, the borrower cannot afford the terms of the mortgage.

Predatory lenders are not out to help the borrower at all; they are only in it for themselves. They are often using their clients in order to gain commissions. A predatory lender looks for clients who have little knowledge and prior experience with mortgages. They will take their application, check their credit, and do whatever it takes to get them approved for the American Dream of homeownership, very often, in a home that they cannot afford.

In many cases, the client gets an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), where the interest rate is fixed for 2 or 3 years, and then it increases, causing their monthly payment to increase substantially. People find themselves paying on an interest only loan, where nothing is applied to the principal. The lender promises to help the client refinance with a fixed loan before the ARM is reset. Legally, no one can make this type of promise.

A loan officer might have the client sign blank forms, telling their client that they have to see what they can do for them before filling in the blanks at a later time. This is known as ‘backing into the documents.’ When a loan officer has sign forms with blank fields, they are able to manipulate the borrower’s loan documents to fit their commission needs.

Predatory Lending Habits

There are several things predatory lenders commonly do to benefit themselves while seriously hurting their unsuspecting clients. Here are some examples of predatory lending practices:

• Falsifying documents to show the client’s income as being higher than it actually is in order to qualify them for the mortgage; this is illegal.

• Obtaining inflated appraisals to get a higher mortgage; therefore, a higher commission. In this case, the lender and the appraiser are both breaking the law.

• Encouraging clients to borrow assets from family; this is not the way to show financial worth.

• ‘Bait and Switch’ is where the client is presented with specific terms that are changed just before closing.

• Refinancing the mortgage and charging a higher than normal origination fee.

• Selling a high-cost, high-interest loan to a borrower who would qualify for a loan with more favorable terms which the lender also offers

• Convincing applicants to borrow more than they can afford to pay back

• Pressuring applicants to accept high-risk terms like interest only mortgages with high prepayment penalties.

Loan officers are paid on commission; the more loans they sell, the more money they make. The commission earned for selling high-cost loans and additional products and services often encourages a loan officer to commit mortgage fraud in order to benefit himself.

There are certain rules and parameters used for approving and underwriting a home loan. Though these stipulations may seem overly restrictive, they are in place to protect borrowers from getting into a mortgage that they cannot afford to repay.