Sonoma Housing Bubble

Pulling the cork out of Sonoma's bubbly housing foolishness

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Getting Close to Hitting Home....

As fraud skyrockets it is getting closer to home... countdown until the names in the papers and the hands in cuffs are people we know and recognize from local billboards and shopping carts.

"The husband-and-wife owners of a Vallejo mortgage company and three other people were arrested today for their roles in an alleged $3.5 million real-estate fraud in Alameda County, authorities said."

"Amy Schloemann, 30, and her husband, Karim Akil, 40, also known as Scott Kinney, were named in a 73-count complaint filed in Alameda County Superior Court accusing them of defrauding two mortgage companies, Union Bank of California, local real-estate brokers and citizens from April 2005 to August 2006."

"The Vallejo couple used their company, Hiddenbrooke Mortgage in Vallejo, to create fraudulent home loan applications submitted to New Century Mortgage and Right-Away Mortgage for seven different homes in Oakland, authorities said."

"Also named as defendants are Hiddenbrooke employee Michelle McGuirre, 38, of Martinez; Wonda Kidd, 56, an escrow officer with Financial Title Co. in San Leandro, and Gregory Lamont Orr, 45, of Antioch, the owner of G.L.O. Enterprises, Inc."

"Schloemann, Akil and McGuirre created false documentation for the loans using fake addresses and bank accounts and forged documents purporting to be from Union Bank, authorities said."

"The defendants manipulated the loan-application process to artificially inflate the value of the homes before diverting the proceeds of each sale with Kidd's help, investigators said. Some of the ill-gotten gains went straight to Hiddenbrooke Mortgage, while other proceeds went to G.L.O. and Orr, an associate and business partner of the Vallejo couple, authorities said."

"Schloemann and Akil were arrested today at their Vallejo office by Alameda and Solano County district attorney's inspectors, Alameda County sheriff's deputies and Vallejo police. Kidd was arrested today at her San Leandro office, and McGuirre and Orr were arrested by Martinez and Antioch police, respectively."


At 5/09/2007 09:02:00 PM , Anonymous tom stone said...

I'm shocked,shocked,I tell you! who could have guessed hiddenbrooke was a small golden stream in this ocean of fraud?

At 5/10/2007 04:33:00 PM , Blogger Matthew said...

My sentiments exactly Tom..

I'm aghast that someone in the mortgage business broke the law and took advantage of some consumers for their own profiteering ways..

The good news is that this has got to be a very unique situation though..


At 5/10/2007 05:47:00 PM , Anonymous tom stone said...

Matt,having had a couple of years in the mortgage biz,i could refer you to several old pros who do a really good job with no BS.Iknow some of the other kinds too,the the young hotshots with no clue,and no appreciation of risk,the amoral supersalesmen who flock to any hot product,and the con men and women who have been in the biz for decades.oh and plenty of lazy incompetents as well.the most amazing thing to me has been the number of otherwise intelligent people,some of whom have been in the biz for decades,who could not see what was happening,and some still can' will get ugly here this summer,be careful how you talk about this bust,because people ARE losing their homes,their jobs and what little sanity they may have reason for you or i to show anything but compassion for those in pain.IT IS A LOT SAFER AS WELL.

At 5/11/2007 12:01:00 AM , Blogger Matthew said...


Thank you for your advice and observations on the lending business. I may take you up on your offer in a few years. I know I am a tough nut on all this and rightfully so in my opinion. There has been far too little dissenting opinion on this matter for far too long.

I wish I could control the market, but alas I cannot. If I could, I'd flip a switch cut prices 35-40% in Marin / Sonoma and 50-60% elsewhere and be done with it to minimize pain and job loss. I believe that's where we're heading, because there has been a major disconnect from historic pricing and wages/rents.

Everyone has been able to ignore this disconnect for a loooong time with increasing prices, substandard lending and HELOCs etc. However, IMO, the real culprit here is RE machine themselves as they have successfully battered the consumer into oblivion…. And, for what?… well, short term profits of course.

The pain and loss with this ongoing correction will be due to the slowing (and almost haulting in some cases) of sales due to these ridiculous prices. The RE machine created their own mess IMO, so these layoffs were inevitable as unfortunate as it is to each individual and family affected. I would never wish a job or home loss to anyone having experienced it myself in the past.

Yes, it’s a down right shame.. However, as we've seen far too often in corporate America lately, the business end (NAR/CAR etc) of this machine got wrapped up in their own greed to give a rats a__ as to the long-term consequences to their business and shareholders. Well, the shareholders (homeowners and consumers) are speaking, and selling their stock en mass to survive… that’s the way I see it..

Yes, the pain and job loss is real and very unfortunate, but those are the prices and lessons of a capitalistic marketplace.. (well, one left on it's own anyhow)..


At 5/30/2007 10:00:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to Law School with Amy. Good times!


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