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Sunshine State Mortgage Cheat Busted
Federal authorities allege that James Christianson was the top man in a rip-off scam which operated under the name of The Howard Kratenstein Trust.
Christianson has been accused of defrauding multiple lenders via a convoluted scheme that always ends with a property foreclosure and a large monetary loss for the lender. In the scheme, According to prosecutors, Christianson purchases a run-down property in a challenged neighborhood, often a tenement type building catering to poor renters. He then obtains false appraisals which substantiate a much higher stated value for the building, using that artificially heightened price, Christianson obtains a mortgage using the name and credit information of a “straw buyer.” The bank then forks over the money for a mortgage, far beyond the true value of the property, and the new buyer defaults on his loan and the property goes into foreclosure.
Up to 400 properties have been linked to the Howard Kratenstein Trust and the losses are well into the tens of millions of dollars.
© 2000 John Cooke Fraud Report