Protecting yourself from mortgage payment scams - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Protecting yourself from mortgage payment scams

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

Kandace Marriott was sentenced to jail for 99 years after scamming thousands of dollars in mortgage payments from her clients, and prosecutors believe she's not the only one.

Prosecutors say Marriott took the money, but didn't actually pay the lenders. She embezzled homeowner cash, sending her clients spiraling into default.

"In order to have accomplished what this lady did, there had to be [others]," said Margie Fisher, a mortgage broker. "When the story unfolds, there's probably other participators."

Try her husband, Darrell Marriott and her sister, Karen Hayes. They've also been indicted for their role in the scheme that already spans at least three counties.

"She needs to go to jail," said Fisher, who is with Prime-Lending. "We collect the pay stubs, the bank statements, the W-2's. We're going to verify that stuff is accurate."

But investigators say, instead, Marriott forged those signatures, falsifying paperwork. Loan applications were inaccurately completed. It was all to help many low-income and unqualified buyers get into homes loans were guaranteed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The attorney general's office says the situation's even more dreary than today's weather. They say Ms. Mariott's name is connected to an entire housing community that was funded by fraud-backed mortgages. When the lenders weren't paid HUD was forced to cover the defaults - to the tune of $3 million taxpayer dollars.

So, what's in place to protect you from falling victim?

"Sometimes not as much as you think," said J. Bennett White who practices real estate. "Surprisingly, I do visit with people, occasionally, who are making their payment to somebody but they don't think that's who their loan is with."

The best thing to do is to protect yourself.

"What buyers should do when they go to closing, they're given a final version of their loan application, if that varies very differently from what they disclosed, they should ask some questions," said Fisher. "If it's too good to be true, it may very well be."

Kally Marriott, Kandace's daughter is also facing charges related to the scheme. Our experts say when making mortgage payments, never make them to an individual. They says it's also a good idea to contact local title companies and the Better Business Bureau to check the legitimacy of a lender before signing on the dotted line.

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