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March 31, 2022

Seth Levine, Norse Holdings’ founder, received a 97-month sentence for his decade-long, $60 million refinancing- and securities-related real estate fraud. Levine, through his 70-plus companies, directed the scheme, submitting falsified documents which inflated the value of the subject properties. The overvaluation of properties led to shortfalls, which Levine covered with cash-out refinances, leaving victim lenders with at least $47 million in losses. Levine defrauded securities investors of at least $13 million by inducing them to invest in multifamily properties. Levine overstated his personal investment in the properties via forged documents provided to investors, sold portions of his properties without investor consent, and brought on additional investors without investor consent—all contrary to representations made during the solicitation. USAO NJ

November 22, 2021

Seven financial institutions – Barclays Capital Inc., Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, NatWest Markets Securities Inc., and Washington Mutual Mortgage Securities Corp. – have agreed to collectively pay $32.5 million to resolve claims by New Mexico that the banks did not adequately disclose the characteristics of certain mortgage-backed securities sold to New Mexico pension funds and a state-run investment council between 2003 and 2010.  The settlement resolves a qui tam action under the New Mexico Fraud Against Taxpayers Act brought by Integra REC, LLCNM

October 22, 2020

Guild Mortgage Company, based in San Diego, has agreed to pay $25 million to resolve whistleblower-brought allegations of knowingly breaching material program requirements in connection with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).  As a participant of the FHA’s mortgage insurance program, Guild had the authority to originate and underwrite mortgages without government review for compliance with program rules.  According to the former head of quality control, Kevin Dougherty, Guild failed to comply with those rules when it knowingly approved ineligible loans that later defaulted.  Dougherty will receive a relator’s share of nearly $5 million.  USAO SDCA

April 29, 2020

Lender Guaranteed Rate, Inc. will pay $15.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly failed to adhere to material program requirements in originating and underwriting mortgages insured by FHA or guaranteed by the VA, resulting in mortgages that did not meet credit and underwriting requirements for the government-sponsored guarantees and insurance.  The case was initiated by a whistleblower complaint filed under the False Claims Act by an unnamed former Guaranteed Rate employee, who will receive $2.4 million of the settlement proceeds.  The settlement also resolved claims under FIRREA.  DOJ; USAO NDNY

December 16, 2019

Steven (Kaveh) Shayan and Kevin (Kaveh) Shayan, who operated the website WeTakeSection8.com, have been permanently banned from offering rental listing services and ordered to pay more than $6 million following a complaint filed by the FTC.  The Shayans and their website falsely claimed that their subscription websites provided accurate, up-to-date rental listings that were approved for Section 8 housing vouchers, including properties with which they had exclusive listing agreements,  when, in fact, most of the listed properties were either unavailable or did not accept Section 8 housing vouchers. FTC

June 12, 2019

In connection with the development of the Lakeway Regional Medical Center in Texas, a number of individuals and entities have agreed to pay $1.1 million to resolve claims that they made false claims in obtaining a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration under a HUD program that insures loans to build hospitals in underserved areas.  Pacific Medical Buildings LLC, PMB Lakeway LLC, RD Development Partners LLC, Lakeway Management LLC, J&L Rush Family Partnership LP, Jeff Rush, and Brad Daniel, were alleged to have delayed refunds to investors who had cancelled their investments in order to make it appear as if the project satisfied mortgage covenants regarding the cash on hand required to close the loan. The settlement also resolves allegations that the settling parties received impermissible distributions of project funds. DOJ

April 25, 2019

Morgan Stanley will pay $150 million to the State of California to resolve allegations under the California False Claims Act, Corporate Security Law and False Advertising Law, that the bank concealed the risk of residential mortgage-backed securities sold to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) between 2003 to 2007. CA

April 12, 2019

General Electric has agreed to pay $1.5 billion to resolve alleged FIRREA violations committed by its subsidiary, WMC Mortgage, in subprime residential mortgage-backed securities originated between 2005 and 2007. WMC had allegedly encouraged lax quality and fraud controls by compensating loan analysts based on the number of mortgages they approved, resulting in profits of $65 billion in the two-year period. An estimated 78% percent of WMC’s loans contained at least one piece of false information. DOJ

March 7, 2019

A landlord participating in a federally funded rent subsidy program for low-income tenants has agreed to settle allegations of violating the False Claims Act. In order to receive housing assistance funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Harold Joseph Tyler of Tyler Realty Group had certified that he would not charge more rent than was agreed upon. According to a tenant who filed the qui tam complaint that launched the investigation, however, Tyler effectively charged additional rent in the form of a recurring "non-refundable deposit" of nearly $200 per month. USAO EDVA

December 21, 2018

Mortgage servicing company Compu-Link Corporation, also known as Celink, will pay $4.25 million to settle a False Claims Act case alleging that it improperly obtained FHA insurance payments on reverse mortgages under the Home Equity Conversion Mortgages program despite knowing that the mortgagees in question were not eligible to receive the FHA payments.  USAO MD Fla
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