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The Department of Securities, Insurance, and Banking announced yesterday that they’d finally indicted Renaldo Gillis and Afolasade Orekoya for a pattern of quick home resales involving forged appraisals, straw buyers, fudged loan applications. Their chicanery netted the pair $1 million over six years—not an eye-popping payoff, sure, but not a bad living either. Here’s how it worked, according to the release:
According to the indictment, from 2003 to 2009, the defendants and their co-conspirators targeted many District of Columbia-area homes for quick resales (called “flips”) at fraudulently inflated prices. Gillis recruited others to act as “straw buyers” of the properties. The straw buyers submitted loan applications to Orekoya, who inputted false information on the loan applications (typically inflating the straw buyers’ assets and income) and submitted them to mortgage lenders, including banks. Meanwhile, Gillis also generated fraudulent appraisals which falsely inflated the value of the properties (in reality, the properties were often in poor condition). The properties were then quickly resold (or flipped) to new straw buyers at increasing prices supported by the inflated appraisals.
The DISB had been working on the investigation for the last four years, but got a boost from the federal Operation Stolen Dreams, which has made over 485 arrests since the sweep started in March.