Weekly News via Email
   Set as homepage | Add to favorites | Customer Service | Subscribe Now | Place an Ad | Contact Us | Sitemap Monday, 02.18.2019
News Archive
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
 1  2  3  4
 5  6  7  8  9  10  11
 12  13  14  15  16  17  18
 19  20  21  22  23  24  25
 26  27  28  29  30
Online Extras
Site Services
Around Bend
Outdoor Fun
Travel Info
Shop Local

Members Of

Poll: Today's Live Poll
Email to a friend | Print this | PDF version | Comments (0 posted) 
  Blogger |   del.icio.us |   digg |   newsvine

Apr 13,2009
RICO's reach
by The San Diego Union-Tribune

There's a first time for everything, and the first use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, to prosecute mortgage fraud is happening in San Diego under U.S. Attorney Karen Hewitt.

According to the indictment returned by a federal grand jury, the charges against two dozen defendants stem from a scheme masterminded by Darnell Bell that worked this way: He and some cronies organized phony real estate companies and a network of straw buyers to purchase properties for more than the asking price. With a network of real estate professionals, they arranged inflated appraisals to support the inflated sales prices, to prepare and submit fraudulent documents and to close the deals.

So that the leaders of the scheme wouldn't lose a dime in those deals, they got mortgages with nothing down.

Between 2005 and 2008, the indictment alleges, Bell and others cheated unsuspecting sellers out of 220 homes, whose sales prices totaled $100 million, and lenders out of $11 million. Bell allegedly netted $9 million. The houses went into foreclosure.

Here we have 24 people indicted for "using a corrupt enterprise to conduct a pattern of racketeering activity; namely, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering." Prosecuting them under RICO seems apt.

Hewitt's initiative is commendable for another reason. Bell is a documented member of a street gang. A successful prosecution in this instance could give federal prosecutors nationwide a more severe option for prosecuting the numerous enterprising gangs that have branched out from prostitution, drug distribution and weapons trafficking to commercial thuggery.

This is occurring partly because the trade in drugs and weapons is big business — big cash business. Billions in legal tender must be laundered through seemingly legitimate operations. So, gangs have set up car washes, restaurants, recording studios, motorcycle shops and other businesses where all is on the up and up, except the bundles of cash.

Gangs also add the brainier crimes to produce revenue. Identity theft is popular. So is malicious software, or malware, which gives them illegal access to corporate and government computers, access that they sell to spammers and hackers.

The sham operation alleged in this indictment was not quite so sophisticated but sufficed to enrich the mastermind. If it weren't the product of fraud, $9 million in profits over three years would pay hefty bail and attorney's fees. The licensed broker, CPA, real estate agent and the rest of the defendants face federal charges with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fines. These RICO prosecutions could have real deterrent value.

Reprinted From The San Diego Union-Tribune. Distributed By Creators Syndicate Inc.
4969 times read

Related news
Founder of BetonSports.com arrested by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Mar 30,2007

Portland man sentenced to 30 months in mortgage fraud scheme by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Apr 09,2008

Connecticut woman pleads guilty for role in human trafficking ring by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Mar 14,2007

Ex-Oregon DOC food svcs. administrator indicted in bribery scheme by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on Oct 23,2007

Eugene mortgage loan officer pleads guilty in fraud scheme by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources posted on May 17,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00Rating: 5.00 (total 13 votes)

Market Information
Breaking News
Most Popular
Most Commented
Featured Columnist
Horoscope Guide
Aquarius Aquarius Libra Libra
Aries Aries Pisces Pisces
Cancer Cancer Sagittarius Sagittarius
Capricorn Capricorn Scorpio Scorpio
Gemini Gemini Taurus Taurus
Leo Leo Virgo Virgo
Local Attractions
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau
Bend Visitors & Convention Bureau

Mt. Bachelor Resort
Mt. Bachelor Resort

Les Schwab Ampitheater
Les Schwab Ampitheater

Deschutes County Fairgrounds
Deschutes County

Tower Theatre
Tower Theatre

The High Desert Museum


Deschutes County

  Web    BendWeekly.com
© 2006 Bend Weekly News
A .Com Endeavors, Inc. Company.
All Rights Reserved. Terms under
which this service is provided to you.
Please read our Privacy Policy. Contact us.
Bend Weekly News & Event Guide Online
   Save the Net
External sites open in new window,
not endorsed by BendWeekly.com
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Google Add to MSN Add to My AOL
What are RSS headlines?