Nine Argent Mortgage employees charged with fraud

Last week in Cleveland, nine former employees of former subprime lender Argent Mortgage Co. were indicted for their roles in making nearly $13 million of fraudulent residential mortgage loans.

The Cuyahoga County Mortgage Fraud Task Force, which brought the charges (it operates under authority from the Ohio attorney general) alleged, among other things, that managers at Argent coached brokers on how to falsify loan documents—say, by lying about the borrower’s income—so that the borrower would appear to meet the company’s standards.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason said that this was the first time in Ohio, and one of the few instances nationwide, that a mortgage fraud investigation led to criminal charges against the employees of a subprime lender. (Other cases have involved independent operators.)

(read more)