Lowell Deeds

The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell

August 16, 2006

Mortgage Fraud in Lawrence

by @ 8:49 am. Filed under Statistics, Real Estate

Today’s Globe reports that the state Division of Banks has shut down two mortgage companies in Lawrence (Diamond Mortgages Services and Synergy Mortgage Group). Both companies have been accused of fraudulently inflating income statements of borrowers so they would qualify for loans. Unfortunately for the borrowers, these were loans they were, in many cases, unable to pay with the predictable result of foreclosure. Community leaders in Lawrence praised the crackdown, explaining that such mortgage companies “are preying on residents who do not speak English well and are naïve about financing and eager to buy a houses.” After reading this article, I searched the index at this registry for entries bearing the names of either of these companies and found none. Still, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that similar companies are operating in this region. A short time ago, we provided some statistics on foreclosures to a Lowell-based community advocacy group that suspected that members of minority groups and recent immigrants were disproportionately represented among those whose homes were being foreclosed. While drawing conclusions about a person’s ethnicity or national origin just from their surname is always risky, the data we compiled did corroborate their suspicions. From January 1, 2006 to June 30, 2006, thirty-seven foreclosure deeds were recorded for the city of Lowell. Based on surnames only, it seemed that seven of the property owners were Southeast Asian in origin, five were African in origin and three were Latino in origin. That means fifteen of thirty-seven mortgages that were actually foreclosed (or 41%) were owned by members of minority groups or recent immigrants.

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