Jerome Mayne has been speaking internationally about his experience of getting caught up in a real estate white–collar fraud conspiracy since 2001. Jerome started his career in the real estate finance business as a brand new loan officer for a large national mortgage banking company. It took him about two years to become a top producer. Then he left the company to start his own real estate investment and a mortgage broker corporation.
Within four years, he had achieved some success. But then his momentum came to a screeching halt when he was indicted by federal prosecutors for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. These crimes took place when he was a fresh new loan officer. He pled guilty and received a 21 month federal prison sentence.
Throughout Jerome's journey, he kept a diary. While he was in prison, he was not able to keep his journal but he wrote letters to people on the outside. Below are some excerpts from his book, "Diary of a White Collar Criminal."
Excerpt from Chapter 2 – Two Miltons
March 22, 1994
Today, I got a call from Mike. He rocks. Right now, he's my best referring real estate agent. He gave me two people to pre–qualify. He also gave my name to a real estate investor who actually called me. His name is Milt May and he said that he buys and sells a lot of houses in the low–income areas; my niche!
He's awesome. He said he needs a good loan officer to send his buyers to. Ahh, that would be me!
April 21, 1994
I gave Milt the list of what the borrowers need to bring to the loan application appointments. I just don't want to have to run around getting follow–up documents. One thing Milt made very clear; since the people he is sending me are his customers, he wants me to call him right away if I need any additional information. Not too out of the ordinary, some of the real estate agents I work with have the same rules.
May 23, 1994
Met with Josh today; one of the first real borrowers from Milt. This kid said that he didn't know where he works! He said that he wasn't even sure what his hourly wage was.
I called Milt after the guy left –– just like I'm supposed to do. I also told Milt that Josh thought he made about $8 – $9 an hour. He said that I might have confused Josh when I asked if it was gross or net pay.
I told Milt that this hourly wage wouldn't be enough for him to qualify for the loan. Milt seemed surprised and then asked me how much someone would need to make per hour in order to qualify for a $76,500 loan. What a stupid question. I told him it would have to be at least $13.75 an hour.
May 25, 1994
One of Milt's associates dropped off Josh's W2's and pay stubs today and what do you know—he makes $13.75 an hour. What am I supposed to do now? It's awfully fishy, but I can't accuse Milt of cooking up fake documents. I could probably get sued or something for accusing someone of this kind of thing. Not only that, but he'd probably never use me again as a loan officer. I mean, they look real. Could Milt have actually made these? He doesn't seem that sophisticated, but I suppose he could have. He must have. I mean, it's not my job to run around and verify the authenticity of every document I get, is it?
Nonetheless, I haven't done anything wrong. I didn't cook up any documents. And it's not like he winked at me and said, "Hey Jerome, here are the fake ones. Go forth young man and commit that fraud." Maybe the underwriter will catch it and decline the loan. I have to admit, this situation is starting to get pretty weird.
Fast forward, more than five years to November 5, 1999:
Excerpt from Chapter 10 — Dear Sweetheart
(My First Day in Prison)
November 5, 1999
I'm really here. I'm actually writing to you from the federal prison in Yankton, South Dakota. It's only been about 18 hours since I last saw you. I miss you so much. It's so hard to believe that I'm really here. In prison. Prison!
As I lay in my bed on the plastic mattress and the plastic pillow, I can't help thinking about the events that led me here. I never would've thought that five years ago, when I met Milt, or should I say Brian Paar, I'd wind up getting convicted of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and receive a 21–month prison sentence.
After you and my mom dropped me off, the guards took me to a small concrete building called R & D, which stands for, 'Receiving and Discharge.' They did the same things the FBI and the U.S. marshals did when I was arrested 11 months ago. They took my fingerprints, and they also took my picture for my prison ID. They took my clothes and my bi–polar medication I had in my pocket.
They gave me a pair of underwear and a set of socks. I don't know what they were made out of, but I wouldn't know where to buy something that crappy. They also gave me a tan jumpsuit and faded blue, floppy cloth slippers to wear until I went to the laundry department. I think the slippers and the jump suit were hand–me–downs.
These excerpts show how someone can get caught up in real estate fraud. If something does not seem right, it probably is not right. The National Escrow Administration team is here for you to answer any of the closing questions you may have.
If you would like to learn more about Jerome's experience you can find his book on Amazon or contact him for keynote and workshop availability for your company or association event. He can be reached at 612.919.3007 and Jerome@jeromemayne.com.