August 13, 2008 |
For Philadelphia Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, the problem of mortgage originators running around Pennsylvania uncontrolled hit a little too close to home. His father, W. Curtis Sr., 87, needed a new heater for the Musgrave Street house he has owned for 47 years. A friend had a friend who worked for a mortgage broker and put them in touch. As a result, the elder Thomas ended up with a $40,000 mortgage that has been passed among four servicers - the current one in Florida. "If you try to get them on the phone, you can't," Thomas said at a news conference yesterday at the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office.
July 2, 2008 |
A former Bucks County prosecutor who had pleaded guilty to stealing mortgage payments, writing bad checks, and forging a judge's signature was sentenced to prison by a Delaware County Court judge yesterday. Joseph James Scafidi, 53, of Warminster, was sentenced to serve 18 to 36 months in state prison and five years on probation, ordered to pay $42,000 in restitution to the homeowners, and forbidden to work in the mortgage or any other financial business. Scafidi, who was working as a mortgage broker when he was arrested, also pleaded guilty yesterday to new charges, including perjury.
June 11, 2008 |
More than a year after the subprime-lending collapse, mortgage brokers on the front lines are still contending with a blitz of industry changes that are making it harder for them to earn a living. "It's like being punched in the back every time you turn around," said Michael Dougherty, managing partner at privately held Choice Mortgage L.L.C. in Mount Laurel. Some of the changes, which are contributing to the slow housing market, push brokers to get bigger down payments, or to require higher credit ratings from borrowers.
May 23, 2008 |
A former Bucks County prosecutor who went to jail 10 years ago for embezzling real estate settlement fees admitted in court yesterday that he had used his job as a mortgage broker to steal from clients again. Joseph James Scafidi, 53, of Warminster, pleaded guilty in Delaware County Court to felony counts of theft and forgery for stealing mortgage payments, writing bad checks, and fabricating an order from a county judge. Scafidi, who worked as a public defender and a deputy district attorney in Bucks County before he was disbarred in 1996, faces up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine for each of six charges.
April 29, 2008 |
A Delaware County couple had to put their wedding on hold after losing two properties at the hands of a disbarred lawyer turned mortgage broker, authorities said. Joseph James Scafidi, 53, of Warminster, a former Bucks County prosecutor and convicted felon, turned himself in yesterday at Collingdale District Court to face theft and forgery charges. He is accused of fabricating documents, including a phony court order from Delaware County's president judge, to hide his theft of mortgage payments.
March 30, 2008 |
All Joanne Keeley wanted to do was help her grandson buy a used car, but she ended up with an expensive mortgage she couldn't afford. Walter Sellers, who arranged financing for the car, was moonlighting as a mortgage salesman and dangled a $1,220 monthly payment in front of her until the night before closing last May, she said, when he told her it would really be $1,790. "He floored me," she said. It got even worse the next day at closing, when she learned that the $1,790 payment did not include taxes and insurance, which amount to $310 a month.
October 14, 2007 |
Given the inventory of unsold properties - and the rise in the number of days it takes to sell each one, even as median prices continue to increase - you'd think residential construction in Center City would be slowing. Yet from Front Street to the Schuylkill, and well north and south of the traditional boundaries of the business district, high-rises are rising and low-rises are spreading across what had been abandoned lots. The housing market may be sluggish, but 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates remain low and available to buyers with good credit.
April 30, 2007 |
If you get a home mortgage from Abington Community Bank in Jenkintown, chances are the money will come from deposits kept there by other residents of Philadelphia's northern suburbs. The 140-year-old bank has been making loans this way for decades, and then keeping the loans on its books instead of selling them. "We are looking for the relationship with the customer," said Tom Wasekanes, vice president of originations. While Abington has stayed with community-lending methods, the U.S. mortgage industry has transformed itself in a way that has opened conduits to global capital markets.
July 3, 2005 |
It's a mystery worthy of Hollywood: In February, $4 million suddenly appeared in the checking account of a suspended Philadelphia lawyer. Who wired it? And why? Is it, as Homeland Security officials in Dallas allege, an effort to launder money? Could it be, as a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia suspects, part of some complex international criminal fraud? Or is it, as the lawyer insists, all quite innocent - simply a surprise investment from an old client who wants to help him make major motion pictures?
May 14, 2004 |
American Business Financial Services Inc. lost $33.2 million, or $10.53 a share, in the first quarter, returning the struggling Center City lender to default status on its own loans. The company secured a temporary waiver from the lender, said Albert W. Mandia, its executive vice president and chief financial officer. While the company now expects losses through Sept. 30, "we can now see a path to profitability by the quarter ended Dec. 31," Mandia said. In late 2002, Center City promoters counted American Business Financial as a major coup, luring the lender from Bala Cynwyd with an aid and loan package from the state and city worth $19.6 million.