BORROWERS BETRAYED PART 1

Identity theft is no bar to keeping a broker license

 

Almost three years after he was arrested for arranging a fraudulent loan, a mortgage broker still had his state license.

jdolan@MiamiHerald.com

Mortgage broker Brahms Alexis kept his state license for almost three years, even after Florida regulators and federal agents dragged him away from a closing in handcuffs.

In September 2005, agents with the Office of Financial Regulation -- which oversees mortgage brokers -- and the U.S. Secret Service videotaped Alexis brokering a bogus $890,000 loan.

According to court files:

The ''borrower'' was an elderly Boynton Beach healthcare worker named Ruth Roach, who knew nothing about the deal. Alexis said he got her name and Social Security number from a real-estate agent who claimed to represent her.

Alexis hoped to pocket $27,000 from the deal, and swore on the mortgage application that Roach had given him her personal information face to face. In fact, he had never met Roach.

''If you know that you're responsible, and your license depends on it, how can you trust the Realtor?'' a Secret Service agent asked during a videotaped interview. ``She could have been giving you information about Mickey Mouse.''

''My bad,'' Alexis said.

Also on the tape, Alexis said he had arranged the $890,000 loan for a house he knew would only sell for $795,000.

He said the real-estate agent planned to defraud the bank and pocket the cash difference.

He pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft in June 2006. He continued to run a mortgage business in Hollywood.

His mortgage-broker license remained in good standing until May 8, 2008.

That was the same day the OFR responded to a Miami Herald request for his case file.

Read more Borrowers Betrayed stories from the Miami Herald

  • BORROWERS BETRAYED PART 1

    Ex-convicts active in mortgage fraud

    During Florida's housing boom, state regulators allowed thousands of mortgage professionals with criminal records into the industry -- costing consumers millions.

  • BORROWERS BETRAYED PART 2

    Thousands with criminal records work unlicensed as loan originators

    Gary Kafka, former body builder with a long rap sheet and violent past, wrote millions of dollars in mortgages in South Florida without ever applying for a state license.

  • BORROWERS BETRAYED PART 3

    State let crooked brokers keep working

    State regulators caught mortgage professionals breaking the law but allowed them to stay in the business with few consequences, The Miami Herald found.

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