Mortgage Fraud Investigation Leads to Disciplinary Actions
Avatar Realty Group, also known as Monroe Realty and Financial Enterprises, and Arthur R. Monroe, Oswego, Illinois, were subject to disciplinary action resulting from an investigation into alleged unlicensed and improper mortgage loan modification activities in Illinois.
Possible mortgage fraud was discovered when a homeowner called the Illinois Mortgage Fraud Task Force (MFTF) hot-line. He had gone to the company for help in saving his home from foreclosure after hearing an ad on Polish language radio about loan services offered by Monroe. The company and Monroe demanded a $150 consulting fee and required an up-front payment of $1,125 for loan modification services. The MFTF learned of the situation after the homeowner lost his home because the loan modification services were not performed and the loan was not modified.
The Mortgage Fraud Task Force investigation resulted in multiple disciplinary actions. IDFPR is ordering Avatar Realty to cease and desist its unlicensed loan modification activities and is fining the firm $25,000 for violating the Residential Mortgage License Act of 1987. The Department is also revoking the prior loan origination registration of Arthur Monroe for not having a current license to provide loan services and failing to meet the law's standards of conduct. Finally, the Department has filed a disciplinary action on Monroe's real estate broker's license for exceeding the scope of licensed activities.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's MFTF announced the disciplinary actions.
The Illinois Mortgage Fraud Task Force was awarded the 2010 Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) Investigative Excellence Award. The Task Force, which includes investigators, managers, and attorneys representing each of IDFPR's three divisions (Banking, Financial Institutions, and Professional Regulation), has the authority to examine every aspect of a residential real estate transaction, from the listing of a property for sale to the closing of the purchase and sale transaction. Since its inception, the MFTF has taken disciplinary action against more than 100 persons and entities and assessed fines in excess of $2 million.
"Predatory business practices and outright fraud are particularly prevalent and egregious in communities in which English is not the primary language," said Brent E. Adams, Secretary of Financial and Professional Regulation. "We hope today's actions make the public and businesspeople aware that financial predators cannot hide behind a foreign language."