December 16, 2009 |
A Camden County criminal investigator's romance with a mortgage broker has cost her her job and could send her to prison for obtaining a fraudulent loan, officials said. Asha Ritchards, 31, of Sicklerville, appeared yesterday in U.S. District Court in Camden, where she tearfully pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and admitted she lied on loan applications for a house her then-boyfriend used as a rental property. "She fell in love with this guy. He's a smooth-talking, handsome guy," defense attorney Leonard S. Baker said.
June 21, 2009 |
Government officials and other observers agree that the U.S. housing market cannot recover until the foreclosure crisis is solved and a regulatory system is put in place that ensures no repeat of the lending debacle that caused it. Yet the remarks of Obama administration officials and consumer advocates at a conference of real estate writers and editors here suggest that the very depth of the crisis means a resolution is far from close in coming....
June 17, 2009 |
A South Philadelphia mortgage broker charged with a murder-for-hire plot was sentenced yesterday to more than 12 years in federal prison for a separate mortgage-fraud scheme. Mahn Huu "Bruce" Doan, 40, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson to 151 months in prison and was ordered to pay more than $5 million in restitution. Doan oversaw 195 fraudulent real estate transactions involving about 180 properties, financed with government-insured loans he obtained by using borrowed or fictitious identities, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
June 4, 2009 |
A South Philadelphia mortgage broker was ordered held without bail yesterday on murder-for-hire charges as prosecutors revealed that the man he allegedly attempted to hire was a cooperating federal witness who secretly recorded several conversations in which the murder plot was discussed. "Make it look like a robbery," Mahn Huu "Bruce" Doan said, according to a partial transcript in a pretrial motion filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine E. Sykes. "Do whatever you think is best in your mind where it don't bring back heat," Doan allegedly added during the conversation recorded May 1 at his business office in the Econo Lodge Airport Hotel in South Philadelphia.
January 11, 2009 |
Although median home prices in the eight-county Philadelphia region have fallen much less than in the nation as a whole, sales have fallen almost a third since the area real estate market peaked in the summer of 2007. To get the market moving, something has to give. For many prospective buyers, that something is interest rates. The current national average rate on a fixed 30-year mortgage is 5.01 percent, the lowest in the 38 years that Freddie Mac has been keeping track. If you are what Ambler mortgage broker Jerome Scarpello calls a "responsible borrower" with good credit (700 score)
January 11, 2009 |
To get us through the early part of this new year, let's get some perspective on what could be driving real estate matters in the weeks to come. First off, it looks as if low fixed interest rates for mortgages - now around 5 percent- will be with us awhile. But Philadelphia mortgage broker Fred Glick warns that rates could begin to rise if the stock market recovers. What he means is that investors who have flocked to the relative safety of Treasury bonds will shift their money to Wall Street if it seems profitable.
January 4, 2009 |
As mortgage rates decline, the question most readers are asking me these days is this: How low can they go? What the experts are telling me is that the rates could fall below 4 percent without more government intervention. The Fed's decision to create the lowest possible rate target for federal funds - money the central bank provides to lenders - was an effort to encourage looser credit. It doesn't really seem to have worked. Banks continue to be tightfisted, and the economy is at a standstill.
October 19, 2008 |
For most of her adult life, Pat Brundage's dream was to renovate an old house. As a mortgage broker, she was in the business of homes and began squirreling away money for her own place. She even knew exactly where she wanted it to be - on a little swath of land ("the island," as locals call it) between the Delaware River and the canal in Titusville, N.J. "It is a special community," says Brundage, president of the Audubon Wildlife Society in New Jersey and a member of several conservancy groups.
October 18, 2008 |
The state Attorney General's Office has charged seven South Jersey residents with collecting unemployment benefits while they had jobs. They were among 14 people statewide who were indicted on charges of stealing a combined $253,331 from the state's unemployment insurance trust fund between 2001 and 2005. Those indicted on third-degree charges of theft by deception: Michelle Washington of Sicklerville, who the state alleges collected about $15,000 while she was working as the manager of a nursing home in West Windsor, N.J. Washington, 43, is now the manager of the Branch Village section of Camden's housing authority.
September 19, 2008 |
Michael A. McLaughlin was flabbergasted by the call in July 2007 from an old friend about the sale of Blue Bell Mortgage Group L.P. McLaughlin, a limited partner in Blue Bell and an investment manager in Haddonfield, knew nothing about a sale of his own company. He found out soon enough: Most of Blue Bell's loan officers and key staff, plus managing partner Thomas J. Campbell 3d, were being absorbed into Willow Financial Bancorp Inc. Willow even took over Blue Bell's Gilbertsville office and still uses the same phone number.