Thursday, October 04, 2007

Leader of Dearborn Mortgage Scam Gets 10 Years

Safi Sobh, 34, of Dearborn, convicted by a federal jury of leading a mortgage fraud conspiracy, has been sentenced to ten years in prison in by U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Duggan, and ordered to pay $1,256,579 in restitution.

Sobh’s conspiracy worked by obtaining “inflated appraisals on residential properties, created false applications and obtained millions of dollars in bank loans.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the trial evidence

Established that between July 2002 and December 2005, Sobh led a large conspiracy that successfully corrupted the system of checks and balances lending institutions rely upon to determine how much money they can safely lend on a property, and whether a particular borrower is qualified to repay the loan. Ohio Savings Bank, Commercial Federal Bank and several other federally insured financial institutions relied upon the false representations of the conspirators and loaned millions of dollars, most of which has not been recovered. Workiong out of his realty, The Success Group, Sobh hand-picked and taught his co-conspirators how to commit these crimes. Eight indicted co-conspirators pleaded guilty to acting as corrupt loan originators, processors, appraisers, and straw buyers.

Mortgage fraud is a big problem in Dearborn for several reasons, not least of which include the destruction of property values, the deterioration of neighborhoods, and further destabilizing an already badly depressed real-estate market.

Dearborn’s mortgage-scammers are also a problem because fraud is one more source of funds that find there way to international terrorist organizations, especially, in Dearborn’s case, Hezbollah.

We see a regular pattern in the Dearborn-Detroit area of criminal conspiracies involving everything from cigarette smuggling to extortion to tax evasion to health-care fraud to mortgage fraud in which proceeds are intended for Hezbollah. Although some mortgage fraud might be motivated by nothing more than simple greed, we believe a large portion of mortgage fraud in this area (bearing in mind the large number of Arabic defendants) has its roots in Hezbollah’s bottomless need for funds.

One local blogger who posts at JihadChat, commenting this past May on the Sobh conspiracy , said “a title company officer told me Dearborn-Detroit [Wayne County] now has the HIGHEST REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE TITLE FRAUD IN AMERICA.”

She researched a recent report by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute [MARI], which she says “explains many Muslim Scams without ever saying ‘Muslim.’”:

What sort of games are Arab-Muslims (with big gas cash) playing with mortgage applications? You name it -- everything from little white lies about income or assets all the way up to what the FBI calls "air loans" that are based on completely fabricated information. The Umma never work alone. They can fabricate and falsify for each other.

The popularity of low- and no-documentation ("stated income") mortgages is also a key component of rising fraud levels, according to MARI. Sometimes referred to as "liar loans" or "NINAs" (no asset, no income verification), low-doc mortgages originally were designed for professionals and business owners with high credit scores who preferred not to lay out their confidential tax, income and investment information every time they applied for a mortgage. Typically those loans required FICO scores above 700, relatively low loan-to-value (LTV) ratios, and came with slightly higher fees or rates.

But recently, even consumers with subprime credit scores, low down payments and questionable incomes are opting for reduced documentation. Too many of these, however, turn out to be liar loans indeed, says MARI, where applicants falsify their incomes and asset information -- frequently with the help or a cooperative mortgage broker. Muslims, because of non-tax paying immigrant status, can fabricate interest in many assets or show assets owned by various family members as being owned by the applicant.

The MARI report cites this real-life example to illustrate the problem: "An officer at a Florida mortgage company applied to a second lender for two stated income loans. The applications were submitted 90 days apart. In the first application, the borrower stated his monthly income as $24,000, and in the second he said it was $30,000." When the mortgage officer was challenged about the discrepancy, he replied, "I thought that on stated income loans you could claim an income as high as necessary" to qualify for the loan amount the applicant needed. Muslims use al-Taquia in a way of being agreeable but confused when they know the actual requirements.

The most common misrepresentation and frauds in 2003-2004 related to falsehoods on applications (56 percent of all reported frauds), followed by fabricated tax returns and bank documents (33 percent -- up sharply from 23 percent three years earlier), false employment verifications (12 percent), and hoked-up appraisals (10 percent). because the Muslim sub-culture is primarily one of cash transactions funds are easily converted or diverted to bolster a financial position.

Remember this. Of over 10,000 FBI agents, only approximately 13 speak and read Arabic. How many of those are native Muslims and loyal only to umma?

There is a reciprocal relationship between Hezbollah's terrorist state-within-a-state in Southern Lebanon, and many (that's many, not all), of Dearborn's Lebanese residents: Dearborn sends Hezbollah money, and Hezbollah uses it to buy rockets to kill Jews, further Hezbollah's grip on all of Lebanon, and otherwise forward the agenda of Hassan Nasrallah (celebrated here in Dearborn as “Our Leader”), of whom so many Dearborn residents are fervent supporters.

We aren't Hezbollah's only source of money. But our contributions put us in the shady company of the likes of Iran and Syria. We'd like to see Dearborn's contributions stopped.


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