Real Estate & Property Law
1 Family + 43 WaMu Mortgages = $2.7M in Likely Lender Losses Since 2007
Posted Sep 22, 2008 5:20 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Since 2007, one California family reportedly bought and sold 43 properties with the help of at least 43 mortgages from Washington Mutual that added up to a total of nearly $25 million.
Now, the lender is likely to take a $2.7 million bath on six problem properties among the 43 transactions concerning Vijay and Supriti Soni and other family members, reports the Orange County Register.
Among them is a Santa Ana home for which the couple paid $440,000 in July 2007, before reselling it five weeks later for $660,000 to their family gardener and handyman, the newspaper recounts. WaMu financed both transactions and in July 2008 foreclosed on the home which, according to the trustee's deed, is worth $220,000 less than the mortgage balance.
An investigation reportedly is ongoing into the situation. WaMu, like many other lenders, apparently did not focus before issuing the mortgages on potential red flags, including a resale, or "flip," of a property within 90 days of purchase, and the parties' criminal background, the newspaper writes. "The Sonis had been convicted in 2003 of numerous felonies for a real-estate-fraud scheme. WaMu checks criminal backgrounds of loan originators, such as outside mortgage brokers, but not borrowers."
Family members declined to comment, but a lawyer for Vijay Soni says he is confident the facts will show his client has done nothing wrong.