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.
September 11, 2003 |
Brenda Hayden's summer mystery, the case of the missing mortgage broker, took an expensive turn last month. After seven weeks of unanswered phone calls, the bargain mortgage rate she had landed to refinance her Marlton home did a vanishing act as well. At 5.375 percent on a 30-year loan, she would have saved $115 a month. When the broker finally called back, she said, "he told me, 'I lost your loan, and I don't know what you expect me to do about it.' " Hayden answers that he could have fessed up earlier, while she still had a chance to improve on her 6.875 percent rate.
September 4, 2002 |
Up to 200 Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents may have been defrauded by a career scam artist once dubbed the "Con Man Casanova" for previous crimes - and he is still looking for more customers, authorities warned yesterday. James J. Masiello, 56, is alleged to have stolen between $150,000 and $200,000 - and reams of personal financial information - by posing as a mortgage broker and soliciting "processing" fees from families interested in refinancing their homes, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Laurel Grass said.