Ex-American Home Mortgage manager going to prison

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by THE-BEAKER, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. :D :D

    former American Home Mortgage branch manager in Alaska who had fled overseas to escape arrest was sentenced Monday to serve more than two years in prison.

    The former manager, Kourosh Partow, was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and $190,000 in restitution for wire fraud after he falsified documentation to secure "stated income" mortgage loans from Melville-based American Home and Countrywide Financial.

    But in a document submitted before the sentencing, his lawyer argued that the highly troubled companies -- American Home now in bankruptcy and Countrywide facing large financial pressures -- had competitive cultures that encouraged "a blind eye mentality."

    Holland heard the case at U.S. District Court in Anchorage.

    Partow was fired from Countrywide in June 2006 after FBI scrutiny of his loans provoked an internal audit. American Home immediately hired him to be a loan officer and branch manager of its Anchorage office, court records show.

    After federal authorities executed a search warrant on his American Home office in Oct. 2006, Partow withdrew the equity from his house and sent it oversees, then fled to France and Iran.

    But he returned to the United States and on April 20, he pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, one at each bank, in exchange for other charges being dropped.

    In the American Home case, Partow, 41, of Chugiak, helped a client refinance his home in 2006. Despite the client having provided accurate information about his income, Partow listed the income as $20,000 per month -- "an amount that significantly overstated \[the client's\] true income," according to Partow's plea agreement.

    In the Countrywide case, he admitted to knowingly overstating an applicant's income to qualify the client for a loan in April 2004.

    Stated income mortgages, a type Alt-A loan, allow loan officers to list borrowers' incomes on mortgage applications but do not require documentary verification of those figures.

    By misstating applicants' financial statuses, Partow enabled them to qualify for loans they might not otherwise have gotten.

    The indictment against Partow listed 14 loans or fraudulent applications and charged him with eight counts of wire fraud related to $2.2 million in American Home loans and a $156,000 loan from Countrywide.

    In addition to overstating borrowers' incomes, it was alleged that Partow engaged in a scheme to generate paperwork showing falsely that borrowers had made 20-percent down payments on their properties by engaging in "an unwritten side agreement to have the seller repay the borrower the alleged down payment amount."

    Such tactics often involve the complicity of an appraiser who overstates the value of the property, mortgage experts said.

    A document written by Partow's lawyer said he was compensated "most importantly" by commissions based on branch profitability, and that he "had authority ... to accept loans otherwise not strictly complying with the loan criteria.

    The document said he was one of "a fair number" of employees hired by American Home after Countrywide fired them in connection with the FBI probe.

    "In order to stay competitive, and increase sales, the companies also encouraged what could be characterized as manipulation," it reads.

    An attached Nov. 2006 email purportedly from American Home's senior vice president for product and sales support in the Western Region, reads, "At AHM we pride ourslves on having a loan for virtually any borrowers, regardless of whether or not they have the ability to verify their Income, Assets or Employment history."

    Another purported company email, from Oct. 2006, instructs loan officers to "play around with the loan all they want ... as long as it has NOT been released to processing."

    There were no court papers available indicating that American Home took any action against Partow. An American Home spokesman would not comment on the case.

    A Countrywide spokesman offered a statement released before the sentencing, saying that Countrywide was a victim of Partow's operation and had cooperated with federal officials during the prosecution.

  2. A sure. He was the worst guy out there.
    Hail the US Justice