Sometimes the news is just too much like an episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle…
According to the New York Post, a ring of Russian fraudsters “brokered $200 million in bogus home loans using phony buyers and identity theft, and pocketed more than $4 million in ill-gotten commissions, prosecutors charged yesterday.”
The group, made up of Aleksander “Shorty” Lipkin, Igor “Ryzhiy” Mishelevich, Alex “Lyosha” Gorvitz, operated out of AGA Capital, a Brooklyn mortgage firm and paid straw buyers to pose as legitimate applicants.
In some cases, the ring stole people’s identities and submitted loan applications on their behalf – without their knowledge, of course.
“Profits were jacked-up by obtaining artificially inflated appraisals that made it seem as though the homes were worth more than their actual sales prices. The ‘buyers’ then defaulted on their loans, forcing banks and other lending institutions to either foreclose on the properties or re-purchase the homes at rock-bottom prices.”
As Boris would say, “Raskolnikov!”