CHICAGO – As part of his ongoing efforts to protect homeowners from the impact of fraud on the value of their property and the safety of their neighborhoods, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that the State’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, working with the DuPage County Sheriff’s office and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), revoked the license of Investor’s Choice Mortgage Corporation and its owner Kelli Wilson as well as loan originator Amber Seng. IDFPR also fined Investor’s Choice $20,000.
The DuPage County Sheriff’s office special investigative unit and IDFPR conducted a search of Investor’s Choice earlier today. After reviewing the evidence collected, criminal charges may be filed as early as Wednesday in DuPage County.
“Mortgage fraud hurts communities across the state and we’re working hard to protect homeowners and families seeking to own their own homes in Illinois. Working with local law enforcement agencies should send a message that we won’t tolerate unlawful activities that interfere with a fair housing market,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
The investigation found that Investor’s Choice Mortgage Corporation, owned by Kelli Wilson (also a loan originator), and loan originator Amber Seng suggested to a married couple that they should falsify the information on their mortgage application so that the loan would be approved. Initially the couple tried to borrow the funds using the husband’s credit information. When that effort failed, Wilson suggested that the wife purchase the property using her own credit record.
Wilson and Seng knew that the buyer, as an investor, was not qualified for a loan under the lender’s no document program, but they urged the buyer to falsify the application to state that the property was to be owner-occupied. This allowed the buyer to qualify for a loan without having to provide documentation about income, outstanding debts, or other information about her or her husband’s financial situation.
“Promising to live in a home in DuPage County and then using it for investment purposes can weaken the market values in our neighborhoods. In worse case scenarios, vacant houses can increase the risk of criminal activities in our community,” said John E. Zaruba, DuPage County Sheriff.
Wilson and Seng also had the buyer falsely use one of Wilson’s rental property addresses at 3940 Paradise Canyon Ct, Naperville, Illinois 60564 as her present address with a notation “living rent free” instead of her true address. Wilson told the borrower that this would improve the likelihood of the lender’s approval of the loan application.
Wilson, through Investor’s Choice, submitted the loan application and file with this fraudulent information to the lender. The false statements allowed the customer’s no document loan to be approved. The mortgage was approved by American Brokers Conduit, which has since filed for bankruptcy.
“We look forward to working with DuPage County as it prosecutes this case. Governor Blagojevich’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force will continue to pursue cases of mortgage fraud as we continue to protect Illinois homebuyers. We will also refer cases to law enforcement agencies across the state as necessary,” said Dean Martinez, Secretary, IDFPR.
Investor’s Choice, the mortgage company Kelli Wilson owned, was disciplined about a year ago for failure to cooperate with IDFPR examiners and for violations in its maintenance of office operations and loan file records.