twitter linkedin
facebook google+

Mortgage News

News by Subject
Complete list of specialty news sections.

Purchase Subscription
Subscribe to and get immediate access to all news, statistics and archives.

Mortgage Advertising
Reach mortgage executives, loan originators and other people tied to mortgage industry.

Consumer Mortgage News
Free mortgage news for prospective borrowers.

Mortgage Newsletter
Free e-mail newsletter with the latest headlines from

Mortgage News Reprints
Put entire stories in your online or printed newsletter or publication.

Mortgage Feedget RSS code
Condensed stories free on your Web site or for your RSS reader.

News Archives
Archive of stories by month going back to 1999.

Press Releases
Reports and announcements from

Mortgage Statistics
Data and statistics for real estate finance.

Mortgage Directories
Directories of lenders, branch operators and mortgage service providers.

Mortgage Graphs
Directories of lenders, branch operators and mortgage service providers.

home subscribe advertise reprints e-mail help RSS about us LOG IN

Mortgage News


Mortgage News

HOT Topics









site map
Mortgage Lawsuits News | Mortgage Litigation Index
Mortgage industry lawsuit news and mortgage litigation coverage. Stories about legal settlements, judgments and mortgage class actions.

Robbing the Grave

OK, NY & MI attorneys accused of crimes

May 29, 2007


photo of Patrick Crowley
Attorneys in two states have been accused of taking advantage of deceased people -- including the father of one of the lawyers. Meanwhile, another attorney was busted for running a mortgage fraud scheme using private information he obtained while working for the government.

Oklahoma lawyer Stephen Smith, 60, and two business associates -- Clayton Smart, 67, and Mark Singer, 41 -- have been charged with stealing more than $20 million from the trust funds of three Memphis funeral homes.

In addition to theft charges, the trio also faces charges of money laundering, according to a statement from Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons in Memphis.

Gibbons said Smith and Smart owned Forest Hill Cemeteries and Funeral Homes; Singer is a stock broker. They alleged stole "millions of dollars from trust funds that were set up for the beneficiaries of pre-paid funeral contracts and for the care and maintenance of cemetery properties."

"The indictment claims the transfers were under the guise of investing the funds for the benefit of the funeral homes trusts and the beneficiaries of the pre-paid funeral contracts," according to Gibbons' statement. "In reality, the transfers were for the defendants' benefit, as well as other individuals or relatives."

The three conspired to take over control of the trust funds, which actually belonged to the state of Tennessee, Gibbons said.

Smart has also been charged in Michigan, where he is accused of embezzling up to $70 million in cemetery trust funds for cemeteries he owns there, Gibbons said.

All three were arrested and taken into custody.

In White Plains, New York, disbarred lawyer Rafael Pantoja, 47, has been arrested and charged with using his dead father's Social Security number to obtain a fraudulent mortgage. All told, Pantoja faces 14 charges that include theft, larceny and identity theft, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said in a statement.

DiFiore said Pantoja, who was jailed on a $500,000 bond, has a history of mortgage fraud. He was disbarred in 1996 yet represented himself as a lawyer when running his latest scam, she said.

According to DiFiore Pantoja, while negotiating the sale of his New York house for $799,000 he lied and told the buyer that the house was lien-free and paid off when in fact he still owed $250,000 on an outstanding lien.

He also served as his own lawyer on the transaction, despite not being allowed to legally practice law in New York. The transaction resulted in a charge of theft of $250,000 from the buyers, DiFiore said.

photo of Rafael Pantoja
Rafael Pantoja
He then bought a $1.8 million home using his dead father's identity to secure the mortgage from PHH Mortgage, she said. He also took out a second mortgage of $600,000 on the property. "The defendant has since defaulted on both loans," DiFiore said.

And in Detroit lawyer John Dingle, 44, who worked for the city's law department, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for using his position to run a mortgage fraud scheme.

Stephen J. Murphy, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said Dingle used his position to obtain information about houses owned by MCA Financial Corp, which had declared bankruptcy in a spectacular collapse during 1999.

"Dingle then prepared and sold fraudulent quitclaim deeds to some of the properties to witting and unwitting purchasers," Murphy said in a statement. "The fraudulent quitclaim deeds were then recorded" with the county.

Dingle used false signatures and notary public affirmations on the deeds, according to the indictment.

"An attorney who represents a municipal government must not use his position to take advantage of real estate transactions," Murphy said.

Dingle faces 15 charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Mortgage Fraud News | Fraud Statistics | Fraud Index | Fraud Blog
Mortgage broker, originator and banker criminal cases. Real estate flipping and appraisal fraud. Mortgage fraud prevention, studies and analysis.

Patrick Crowley is a feature journalist and blogger for He is also a reporter, blogger and columnist for The Cincinnati Enquirer.
e-mail Patrick at: [email protected]

Logout forgot

Mortgage Fraud Statistics
Government and private data on volume of mortgage fraud activity.

Mortgage Fraud Index
Dollar and index amount by quarter and state.

Mortgage Fraud Litigation
Lawsuits and settlements invoving mortgage fraud by a lender insider. From 2007 through first-quarter 2013

Mortgage Fraud News
News stories about fraud committed against home lenders.

Mortgage Fraud Blog
Actions in mortgage fraud criminal and civil cases.

local mortgage fraud

mortgage fraud links

SUBSCRIBERS: Edit Subscription | Subscription Help | or call 214.521.1300

Subscribe Contact Us Site Map

Copyright © 2017 Mortgage Daily, D a l l a s
Subsribers Only:

AMC directory

ARM indexes

mortgage company directory

mortgage regulations

net branch directory

p r i c i n g engine directory

wholesale lender directory

More Mortgage News Resources (full site map):

advertising news

appraisal news

bank news

biggest lenders

commercial mortgage news

corporate mortgage news

credit news

FHA news

financial regulation news

foreclosure news

GSE news

jumbo mortgage news

interest rates

loan modification news

loan originator survey

LOS Newsletter


mortgage associations

mortgage-backed securities

mortgage books

mortgage brokers

mortgage compliance

mortgage conferences

mortgage directories

mortgage education

mortgage employment

mortgage employment index

mortgage executives

mortgage fraud

mortgage fraud blog

mortgage fraud local news

Mortgage Fraud Index

Mortgage Graveyard

mortgage insurance news

mortgage lawsuits

mortgage leads

mortgage lender ranking

mortgage licenses

mortgage litigation

Mortgage Litigation Index

Mortgage Market Index

mortgage mergers

mortgage news

mortgage politics

mortgage press releases

mortgage production

mortgage public relations

mortgage rates

mortgage servicing

mortgage statistics

mortgage technology

mortgage video

mortgage Webinars

net branch

net branch directory

nonprime news

origination news

originator tools

real estate news

refinance news

reverse mortgage news

secondary marketing

social media

servicing news

subprime news

wholesale lenders