Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bush Era Entrepreneurs

Nice work.

The U.S. Attorney's Office accuses Berry Louidort and Ralph Michel (also known as Ralph Duverneau) of putting together deals for two dozen homes in Palm Beach County, persuading banks to loan far more than the properties actually sold for, then pocketing the difference and letting many of the homes lapse into foreclosure.


There are straw buyers, such as the part-time Publix cashier whose income on loan applications was inflated from $13,000 to $344,000 so she could qualify for $1.3 million in loans on a palatial home in a gated community in Boca Raton.

(The borrowers haven't been charged. Property records list the Publix cashier as Marie Saint-Fleur, although she is identified in court documents only by the initials "M.S.")

There's Jasky saying she doesn't want to know the unsavory details of the loans she's shopping to lenders. Meanwhile, her mother is acting as the Realtor on some of the deals.

And there are some of the world's most sophisticated financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of New York, making loans on these properties for twice what they were worth. The Wall Street giants approved these mortgages in 2007 for much more than the properties sold for in 2005 and 2006, despite the steep downturn in home prices in Palm Beach County.