Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Man gets sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for lying on a mortgage application!


WTF!  Take a deep breath and read Joe Nocera's excellent article from last Friday's New York Times regarding the federal mortgage fraud conviction of Charlie Engle.  From the article...
Was Mr. Engle convicted of running a crooked subprime company? Was he a mortgage broker who trafficked in predatory loans? A Wall Street huckster who sold toxic assets?
No. Charlie Engle wasn’t a seller of bad mortgages. He was a borrower. And the “mortgage fraud” for which he was prosecuted was something that literally millions of Americans did during the subprime bubble. Supposedly, he lied on two liar loans. 

“I had a couple of good liar loans out there, you know, which my mortgage broker didn’t mind writing down, you know, that I was making four hundred thousand grand a year when he knew I wasn’t.”  
So this guy gets prosecuted for lying on his loan applications?  Even worse...
The monthly income listed on the second loan was $32,500, an obviously absurd amount...

Mr. Engle claims that he never saw that $32,500 claim and never signed the papers. Indeed, a handwriting analysis conducted by the government raised the distinct possibility that Mr. Engle’s signature and his initials in several places in the mortgage documents had been forged.
No shit?  Didn't the mortgage brokers in the Plantation cops federal mortgage fraud case do the same thing?
As it happens, Mr. Engle’s broker for that loan, John J. Hellman, recently pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud for playing fast and loose with a number of mortgage applications. Mr. Hellman testified in court that Mr. Engle had signed the mortgage application. Early this week, Mr. Hellman received a reduced sentence of 10 months, less than half of Mr. Engle’s sentence, in no small part because of his willingness to testify against Mr. Engle. 
SHAZAM!  The mortgage broker gets off for selling his client out even though he's the one who forged the documents that got his client into this mess!!  What's even more disturbing is how the case came to be, an IRS agent saw a documentary about Mr. Engle running across the Sahara desert...
“Being the special agent that I am, I was wondering, how does a guy train for this because most people have to work from nine to five and it’s very difficult to train for this part-time.”
Is this the way a government agent thinks?  I'd be more interested in watching the movie and figuring out how someone could run across a desert rather than trying to figure out the finances of the guy who's running!  Special Agent Robert W. Nordlander also says...
"...that sometimes, when he sees somebody driving a Ferrari, he’ll check to see if they make enough money to afford it."
WOW!  Then worse, when Agent Nordlander isn't busy trying to find his next suspect while watching a documentary, he's busy digging through peoples trash!
Still convinced that Mr. Engle must be hiding income, Mr. Nordlander did undercover surveillance and took “Dumpster dives” into Mr. Engle’s garbage. He mainly discovered that Mr. Engle lived modestly.

This story has left me completely floored.  Things must be real slow for Special Agent Nordlander up in the eastern district of Virginia for him to resort to this kind of bogus prosecution.  I have to wonder though, what would happen if Special Agent Nordlander came down to Miami for a visit?  What would he think of our city's chief financial officer, Larry Spring, who lied about his primary residence on his loan apps when he mortgaged his mother's house and defrauded the lender out of hundreds of thousands of dollars?  Or even better, what would Special Agent Nordlander think of our esteemed City of Miami Commissioner, Marc Sarnoff, who also managed to lie about where he was living to his lenders in order to enjoy lower interest rates?  Do you think Special Agent Nordlander would buy Mr. Sarnoff's explanation?
"I don't know anyone who's ever read their mortgage!"
Somehow I doubt he'd buy that.  I'm more inclined to believe that the special agent would first ask why these people haven't been prosecuted for committing crimes as bad if not worse than Charlie Engle and then I'd bet he'd ask the same question we've all been asking lately...
Despite everything Mr. Engle has gone through and the fact that he's serving time in a federal prison, he still manages somehow to write a blog about his experience.  Good luck to Mr. Engle, I hope his 21 months go by quickly and painlessly.



  1. that's disgusting... the crook who got him involved got off by selling him out... and the judge was ok with that...

    what a shitty world we're living in...

    u should send agent norlander the link to this blog... since he's apparently got so much free time on his hands...

  2. Incredible!! do we live in America or Venezuela? Disgusting the amount of time and taxpayer money spent on that bogus case. As a law emforcement officer I would be embarrassed to investigate let alone present that kind of case.

  3. Trust me, this guys got nothing on Assistant State Attorney Bill Kostrzewski who has a hard on for prosecuting anyone that's more successful than he is. How did that go Bill? "no 10 year attorney could live in a $2mm house on old cutler and drive an Aston Martin without being dirty". Did I nail it Mr Kostrzewski?

    Stay tuned folks, we're gonna learn about a prosecutor whose gone to unthinkable lengths to uncover the identity of anonymous bloggers who are critical of his work...

    Ready to be famous Mr Kostrzewski?

  4. City of Miami CFO Larry Spring takes out a mortgage he immediately refuses to pay eventhough he makes $250,000 per year? No indictment yet?

  5. re: Engle/Hellman...guess who owned the property Hellman arranged the mortgages for.....Hellman. Was he a mortgage broker or a speculator?