Inmates Get $9.1 Million in Home Buyer Credits
More than 1,200 prison inmates, including 241 serving life sentences, applied for and received first-time hom ebuyer tax credits, according to a Treasury Department report released Wednesday.
Treasury said many filed multiple claims, even some outside the alloted time persiod, and received help from paid preparers. Altogether they fraudulently received $9.1 million in tax credits with $1.7 million going to prison lifers.
The report also identified 2,555 filers who received $17.6 million for homes that they purchased before the tax credit program began. It flagged 206 filers who sought credits on multiple properties and were awarded $1.4 million.
In addition, 34 employees of the IRS were nabbed for filing illegally for the credit.
Source: CNNMoney, Aaron Smith (05/23/2010)
By ALAN ZIBEL
The Associated Press
The number of homeowners dropping out of the Obama administration's main mortgage assistance plan is growing, and is now almost equal to the number who have received permanent relief.
The Treasury Department's report Monday was the latest evidence of problems in the administration's $75 billion program. While officials insist the program is helping the housing market turn around, critics say it is merely delaying an inevitable surge in foreclosures.
More than 299,000 homeowners had received permanent loan modifications as of last month, Treasury said. That's about 25 percent of the 1.2 million who started the program since its March 2009 launch. They are paying, on average, $516 less each month.
However, the number of people who started the process but failed to get their mortgages permanently modified rose dramatically in April.
To complete the program, borrowers must make at least three payments on time. About 277,000 homeowners, or 23 percent of those enrolled, have dropped out during this trial phase. That's up from about 155,000 a month earlier, or a 79 percent increase.
Many borrowers are still stuck in limbo, unable to complete the process and caught up in an often-bewildering bureaucracy.
"These mortgage companies have to get it together," said Henrietta Thompson, housing coordinator with United Family Services in Charlotte, N.C. "We're not getting anything done."
Treasury officials acknowledge that long delays have been a problem.
"Homeowners are waiting. We want them to get answers as rapidly as possible," said Herbert Allison, an assistant Treasury secretary.
After a one-year struggle with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Giselle Embry, 56, of Escondido, was finally able to get a loan modification through the program.
"They kept calling me and asking me to send the same things," she said. "I felt like they just wanted to run me around until I got so frustrated that I gave up."
Embry fell behind on her mortgage. An illness forced her to go on disability for six months and her hours as a career adviser were shortened because of state budget cuts. Her new loan payment is $622 a month, more than half of her initial payment.
A Chase spokeswoman declined to comment on Embry's case. She said the bank has hired 9,000 workers to handle foreclosure cases, opened 51 centers around the country where borrowers can meet with bank officials and held foreclosure prevention events around the country.
The program is designed to lower borrowers' monthly payments by reducing mortgage rates to as low as 2 percent for five years and extending loan terms to as long as 40 years.
There have been problems from the start. One of the big ones: Initially, many of the participating banks allowed borrowers to state their income verbally and provide proof of their income later. That jammed up the system as many borrowers didn't provide a complete set of documents, and some complained that their information was lost.
The mortgage companies that required homeowners to provide proof of their incomes have had a much better track record. HomEq Servicing Inc. and Ocwen Financial Corp. were able to convert more than 80 percent of their participating borrowers to permanent status, according to the Treasury Department.
By contrast, the four largest banks in the program have been far less successful. Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. have successfully processed about 25 percent of their applications. JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup Inc. have been able to convert 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively, of their applicants to permanent status.
Treasury officials have directed lenders to shift to a new system. Starting with loan modifications that go into effect June 1, they are required to collect two recent pay stubs at the start of the process.
Housing analysts are also watching the number of borrowers who drop out after completing the program.
Tom Tait wants to hear Colony issues!
If you do not know who Tom Tait is, you should. Tom is running for Mayor and he will most likely win. This being said he contacted me a few weeks ago and expressed concern over knowing what issues are a concern here in the Colony. I suggested that we have a meet and greet and he happily accepted. So, here is your invite!
Bring a friend, bring a neighbor! Tom Tait meet and greet June 23rd, 6:30pm at The Shigo home (510 N. Clementine St.) Food and drink shall be provided!
I suggest that you come with questions!
Here is a little info on Tom:
FORMER COUNCILMAN TOM TAIT ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN FOR MAYOR OF ANAHEIM “OVERWHELMED BY ENDORSEMENTS”
Anaheim, CA – Former Anaheim City Councilman Tom Tait announced today his candidacy for the office of Mayor in the City of Anaheim.
Tom Tait was appointed to fill a vacancy on the City Council in 1995 and was elected to the post in 1996. He was unopposed in his re-election in 2000 and left the City Council in 2004. He has also served the residents of Anaheim as a Budget Commissioner, a Planning Commissioner and as the City representative to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
Mr. Tait has received unprecedented early support for his campaign from local and regional leaders. Among his endorsements are current Mayor Curt Pringle, Congressmen Ed Royce, Dana Rohrabacher & John Campbell, Supervisors Pat Bates, Bill Campbell, Chris Norby & Janet Nguyen, State Senator Bob Huff, State Assemblyman Jim Silva and former State Senators John Lewis and Dick Ackerman.
“I am humbled and overwhelmed by endorsements that have poured in from so many leaders of Anaheim and Orange County”, Tom Tait said. “I will work to the best of my ability to be worthy of this support and I will work hard to gain the trust of the residents of Anaheim both as a candidate and as the Mayor of our great City. I believe that I served the City well in the past and I look forward to bringing my experience and business knowledge back to the City Council.”
While endorsing Tom Tait for Mayor, current Mayor Curt Pringle made the following comment, “I have known Tom for many years and I have the greatest respect for him. Anaheim is a vibrant community and Tom is the best possible person to continue our new tradition of maintaining Anaheim as a ‘freedom friendly’ city.”
As a councilman, Tom was known for his passion for freedom, an acute sense of fiscal accountability and his ability to work with the community and civic leaders to make Anaheim a better place to live and do business.
Tom holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming and an MBA and a Law degree from Vanderbilt University.
Tom is President of an Environmental and Civil Engineering firm based in Orange County. He and his wife Julie reside in Anaheim and have four children.
Please join us June 8th from 2pm-8pm for the Anaheim Colony Cares Red Cross Blood Drive! Location: 510 N. Clementine Street, Anaheim.
Make your appointment today!
All donors will need to log onto www.redcrossblood.org and enter C21S as the sponsor code (on the left hand side of the screen there is a navy blue button that says “Enter a Sponsor Code”), as well as their name, address and phone number. When they have completed this section, they will follow the prompts to schedule their appointment.
Local REALTOR® Obtains e-PROÒ Certification
July 29, 2009 – As more and more consumers begin their search for real estate-related information on the Internet, it is critical that real estate professionals stay on top of the latest technology for the benefit of consumers and real estate practitioners alike. The e-PROÒ Technology Certification Program fills that need.
Realizing the importance of technology training, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) created a comprehensive Technology Certification course in 2000. And now that course, e-PROÒ, has been completely updated to include information on Social Media and Web 2.0 aspects that is, and will continue, to change the real estate business.
“The real estate industry has undergone a fundamental change over the past five years,” Meghan Shigo said. “Today, more than 85% of all buyers and sellers begin their search online. As an e-PROÒ certified agent, I have knowledge and tools needed to provide my clients with the information they need and the customer service they demand. It’s both hi-tech and hi-touch.”
The all new e-PROÒ certification course -- the only technology certification program offered by NAR -- is designed to prepare real estate professionals to make the most of Internet technology and to identify, evaluate, and implement new Internet business models. The elite group of course graduates represents only four percent of all REALTORSÒ in the country including Meghan Shigo of Century 21 Superstars.
The PROÒ certification course is an educational program unlike any other professional certification or designation course available, comprehensive and interactive. It is specifically designed to provide real estate professionals with the technology tools needed to assist consumers in the purchase or sale of a home.
The exclusive e-PROÒ certification course is presented entirely online and certifies real estate agents and brokers as Internet professionals. The course is designed to help REALTORSÒ stay at the leading edge of technology and identify, evaluate and implement new Internet business models.
Once completed, the e-PROÒ certified real estate professional joins the ranks of a special community of highly skilled and continuously trained professionals who provide high quality and innovative online-based real estate services. Consumers can identify the e-PROÒ through the exclusive e-PROÒ Internet Professional logo.
Both the content and the delivery platform were created by the San Diego-based technology company InternetCrusade®. Graduates use the skills they've acquired to provide clients information on properties for sale, local communities, and the local real estate market.
For more information, e-mail Meghan Shigo at MeghanShigo@gmail.com or call 714-273-1381
Hot Topic! Should historic homes participating in the Mills Act be allowed to install synthetic lawns? Do you have a better idea? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Lots of calls today from folks wanting the scoop on the "new moratorium" here in California. Seems that some have misinterpreted the new law and believe that it may have a big impact.
The new law adds 90 days to the existing 3 months between the filing of a notice of default and a notice of trustee sale, but exempts servicers (lenders) who put in place a loan modification program.
Overall the law makes little sense to me. Why our legislators are pushing lenders so hard to lockvhomeowners in a prison of debt and delay the inevitable is beyond me, but much like SB1137 last year, they are once again back at it with another attempt to force loan mods that I believe will again fail to make any real difference.
We expect most lenders have at least applied for an exemption from this law by submitting their loan mod program. As such we expect no immediate change in foreclosure activity. Even if the state gets tough and denies the servicers application for the exemption, those servicers have a chance to resubmit, and the mortatorium still won't apply to them for 30 days after the denial.
The moratorium also applies only to owner occupied ifrst mortgages made between 2003 and 2007, though that is the majority of foreclosures we see today.
Bottom line - if we see any impact at all it likely won't be until August or September. But these payment based loan mods are largely better for servicers than homeowners, so I can't imagine that servicers won't at least put a program in place. We will of course keep an eye on it.
For the complete details see the bill itself: http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_0001-0050/abx2_7_bill_20090220_chaptered.pdf
PWR Charity Foundation Adds New HOA Dues Assistance to "Opening Doors" First Time Home Buyer Program. The application period for both programs will begin on June 1, 2009.
Adding a new feature to the existing Down Payment Assistance Program, Opening Doors the Pacific West Association of REALTORS® (PWR) Charity Foundation is now offering one year home owners’ association dues (HOA) to qualified first time home buyers.
“Oftentimes, HOA dues can present a barrier to first time buyers. We are proud to have raised enough money to include an HOA dues assistance program this year, in addition to the down payment assistance grants that we will award,” said Michael DeLeon, President of the PWR Charity Foundation Board.
Applications for both first time buyer programs will begin June 1. Applicants must purchase a property within the PWR coverage areas of southern LA and northern Orange counties.
The PWR Charity Foundation has awarded more than 30 southern California families with down payment assistance since the program’s inception in 2007. http://www.pwr.net/PWRToday/Reports/Default.aspx?ReportID=40&HTML-Link=False
As part of its plan to stimulate the U.S. housing market and address the economic challenges facing our nation, Congress has passed legislation that grants a tax credit of up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers.
Here is more information about how the 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit can help prospective home buyers become part of the American dream.
Breaking news: HUD: Home Buyer Tax Credit Loans Still on Track (REALTOR® Magazine)
First-time home buyers who purchase homes between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.
To qualify as a “first-time home buyer” the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase.
The 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit may be applied to primary residences, including: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops.
The maximum allowable credit for home buyers is $8,000. Each home buyer’s tax credit is determined by two factors:
The price of the home—the credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to $8,000.
The buyer's income—single buyers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000—may receive the maximum tax credit.
Yes, some buyers may still be eligible for the credit.The credit decreases for buyers who earn between $75,000 and $95,000 for single buyers and between $150,000 and $170,000 for home buyers filing jointly. The amount of the tax credit decreases as his/her income approaches the maximum limit. Home buyers earning more than the maximum qualifying income—over $95,000 for singles and over $170,000 for couples are not eligible for the credit.
No. The buyer does not need to repay the tax credit, if he/she occupies the home for three years or more. However, if the property is sold during the three-year period, the credit will be recouped on the sale.**source Realtor.com
The City of Anaheim is providing homebuyer down payment assistance up to $125,000 for the purchase and rehabilitation of qualified foreclosed homes in Anaheim. Properties must be located within qualified census tract areas. Funding is limited and preference is given to households... Go to this link for more info:
For additional questions you may contact us at:
Housing Services Agency201 S. Anaheim Blvd., Suite 1001Anaheim, CA 92805
or call us direct at 714.765.4340
On Thursday, April 2, 2009 the Housing Affordability Fund has launched a new program designed to provide peace of mind to first-time buyers who are hesitant to enter the housing market due to concerns about potential job loss, and subsequently being unable to meet their monthly mortgage obligations. To qualify for the Mortgage Protection Program, Applicants must:
· Be a first-time home buyer – someone who has not owned a home in the last three years. · Open escrow April 2, 2009, or later, and close on or before Dec. 31, 2009 · Use a California REALTOR® in the transaction · Purchase the property in California · Be a W-2 employee (cannot be self-employed)Submitted by Susan Klaren:
Cell: (714) 264-0876
Fax: (866) 358-6221 Email: Susan.Klaren@prospectmtg.com
Return to the 2009 Press Release IndexRelease No. 09-004
January 20, 2009
WOMAN WHO PROMISED TO HELP HOMEOWNERS AVOID FORECLOSURE SENTENCED TO OVER 12 YEARS IN PRISON FOR TAKING MILLIONS FROM INVESTORS IN FRAUDULENT SCHEME
The promoter of an $18 million real estate investment scheme that targeted African-American individuals in Southern California and other states was sentenced today to 151 months in federal prison.
Jeanetta M. Standefor, a 40-year-old resident of Altadena, California, was sentenced in Los Angeles federal court by United States District Judge Percy Anderson. In addition to the prison term, Judge Anderson ordered Standefor to pay $8,688,924.
Through her Pasadena-based company, Accelerated Funding Group (AFG), Standefor operated a bogus "foreclosure reinstatement" program that attracted more than 600 investors between 2005 and 2007. The scheme purported to use investors' funds to cure defaults on distressed properties about to be put into foreclosure. While soliciting investor money and promising returns of up to 50 percent in time periods as short as one month, Standefor and AFG were instead operating a Ponzi scheme that used money from new investors to pay previous investors.
Standefor pleaded guilty in September 2008 to two counts of mail fraud.
"Ms. Standefor exploited the housing crisis for her own benefit with false promises of help for troubled homeowners and fictitious profits for those willing to help,” said United States Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien. “While there are legitimate companies that work with distressed homeowners, investors and mortgage holders must carefully consider any offer of assistance, particularly when there are suspicious promises that seem too good to be true.”
Standefor’s fraud was what is commonly called “affinity fraud,” that is, a fraud directed at a particular community. Standefor and AFG targeted investors in the African-American community through a now-defunct Web site, word of mouth, real estate seminars and testimonials by other seemingly successful African-American investors.
Standefor claimed investor funds would be used to assist owners of distressed properties. Written materials put out by AFG touted its foreclosure reinstatement program as "virtually risk-free" and promised investors that their principal would be safely returned within 72 hours at their request. However, Standefor and AFG did not use investor funds to cure defaults on any residential properties, and investors' requests for return of their investments were ignored.
Standefor used more than $1.9 million of investor funds for personal expenses, such as her lavish wedding and honeymoon, cars, jewelry, tickets to entertainment events and home renovations.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In conjunction with the indictment against Standefor, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil action against Standefor and AFG. The SEC obtained a default against Standefor and AFG on September 18, 2008.
WASHINGTON, DC -- Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE) today announced that it would extend the suspension of foreclosure sales and evictions from single-family properties through January 31, 2009.
This action will enable the company to work with mortgage servicers to further implement the Streamlined Modification Program (SMP) announced on November 11, 2008 and initiated on December 15, 2008. The extension will also provide additional time for the company to operationalize its new National REO Rental Policy, which will allow renters in company-owned foreclosed properties to stay in their homes. Details of the new policy are expected to be announced shortly.
The temporary suspension of foreclosures will allow affected borrowers facing foreclosure to retain their homes while Fannie Mae works with mortgage servicers to implement the SMP. Foreclosure attorneys and loan servicers have been instructed to use the additional time to reach out to borrowers and continue to pursue workout options. The initiative applies to loans owned or securitized by Fannie Mae.
The SMP is aimed at the borrower who has missed three payments or more, owns and occupies the primary residence, and has not filed for bankruptcy. The program creates a fast-track method for getting troubled borrowers into an affordable monthly payment through a mix of reducing the mortgage interest rate, extending the life of the loan or even deferring payments on part of the principal. Servicers have flexibility in the approach, but the objective is to create a more affordable payment for borrowers at risk of foreclosure.
Fannie Mae's loan servicers are prepared to work with borrowers during this suspension period, even if previous workout efforts have been unsuccessful. As part of the company's "Second Look" initiative, Fannie Mae personnel have been reviewing seriously delinquent loans to determine if the borrower has been contacted and all workout options have been exhausted.
The streamlined modification program and temporary suspension of foreclosures are two of a series of steps Fannie Mae has taken to expand its foreclosure prevention efforts, which are designed to give loan servicers and foreclosure attorneys tools to find the best solution for a borrower in financial trouble. Fannie Mae and its many partners in the housing industry urge borrowers in financial difficulty to reach out to their loan servicers, regardless of whether they are facing imminent foreclosure. Solutions may be available that could make an existing mortgage more affordable.
All buyers looking for homes in today market are going to run into this same scenario: the bank owned property that you want has a requirement that you get a specific lenders blessing before your offer can be submitted. This "specific lender" is 99% of the time a loan officer working at the bank that the home is owned by.Since the probability of you running into this is HIGH then you should have scanned and ready to email to this lender: 2006-07 tax returns, one month’s statement of all assets (checking, savings and investments), last two paystubs and a full credit report (if you have already been preapproved then the lender that you are preapproved with should have this report). Scrambling at the last moment to get this stuff together could cost you the house while they accept someone else's offer.No, your agent cannot speak with the loan officer for you. The reason that they request that they talk to YOU is to 1) take the loan application 2) to have the opportunity to offer you typically pretty good deals on financing through them.Do you have to use the bank who owns the property for your financing?? NO! It's not legal if they tell you that you do have to use them.
The minimum household income needed to purchase an entry-level home at $411,170 in California in the fourth quarter of 2007 was $82,200, based on an adjustable interest rate of 6.21 percent and assuming a 10 percent down payment. First-time buyers typically purchase a home equal to 85 percent of the prevailing median price. The monthly payment including taxes and insurance was $2,740 for the fourth quarter of 2007.
At 54 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable in the state, followed by the Sacramento region at 53 percent. Monterey was the least affordable region in the state at 20 percent, followed by the Santa Barbara region at 21 percent.
Leading the way...® in real estate news and information for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with nearly 200,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.
C.A.R. FIRST-TIME BUYER HOUSING AFFORDABILITY INDEX *
California - Condos
Los Angeles County
Northern Wine Country
Palm Sprgs/Lwr Desert
San Diego County
San Francisco Bay
San Luis Obispo County
Santa Barbara Area
Santa Clara County
* -- percentage of California households that can afford to purchase a median-priced home
r – revised
Source: CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®