Industry NewsMortgage

Crackdown on mortgage-elimination scams

Federal investigators are watching closely

Federal and state investigators are targeting schemes that claim to erase a homeowner's mortgage debt through creative paperwork. What some of these business models don't advertise is that their programs can put consumers at risk of foreclosure and even fraud. Dubbed "mortgage elimination," the schemes have caught the eye of the FBI, which has been working with the title industry to snare those firms that are taking advantage of unsuspecting homeowners, Inman News has learned. Dwight Bickel, a lawyer for LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc. said a company representative met with the FBI last week, and he has "confirmed there are investigations ongoing nationwide" relating to mortgage-elimination schemes. "This has got to be one of the top issues facing our industry right now with regard to the potential for loss," said Tim Krell, a lawyer for First American Title, who also confirmed a meeting with the FBI to discuss mortgage-elimination. There are some general patterns with mortgage eli...