Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Case Against Larry Maxwell, Alleged Mortgage Fraudster

Flickr.com Photo

This blog post is for those who don't have the inclination to read the long and involved source document from the Maxwell investigation, which I've placed on my "PDF support website," click here. There are some advantages to just writing a blog post, chiefly...

...the fact stuff like names and addresses will turn up in Google searches, which won't happen if I just link to a PDF. And some people prefer a summary.

"Third Party Witnesses And Potential Co-Conspirators"

The amended criminal complaint, apparently first filed February 11, 2008, was filed by Cory Cardenas, a detective for the Bloomington Police Department for more than ten years. Cardenas has been coordinating his investigation with Glen Miller of the Hennepin County Attorney's Office in "investigating a pattern of criminal activity committed by Realty Executive Advantage Plus Group" (REAPG) and "Larry Danell Maxwell."

The investigation involved "the execution of search warrants" at Maxwell's home and the offices of REAPG and Worldlink Mortgage, Inc." Worldlink orginated and brokered loans for customers of REAPG and Maxwell. Some of these costumers were later determined to be "fictional." Cardenas says his investigation, though "ongoing" has uncovered "a racketeering and real-estate mortgate fraud scheme perpetrated by identity thefts, forgeries and thefts by swindle."

Larry D. Maxwell Is A Very Bad Man (Allegedly) But Sure Has A Lot Of Titles

Maxwell was 52 years old at the time this criminal complaint was filed and, at that time, held a real estate salesperson's license. (Word is the license is now inactive and, by the way, searching MLS sales data for an inactive real estate license is problematic, a flaw in the MLS which hinders these kind of investigations. Word)

At the time of Cardenas' criminal complaint, Maxwell had previously pleaded guilty to one count of "Aiding and Abetting False Information." Maxwell received five years of probation and orders to pay restitution of $37,592.24 to HUD, an amount that might be looked upon as a mere "cost of business" considering what Maxwell, et al reportedly racked up from their (alleged) swindles.

REAPG was operating at 2309 River Point Circle in Minneapolis, the home address of Maxwell. Others involved with REAPG were Maxwell's wife, Vicki Yvette Cox-Maxwell and Halisi Edwards-Staten. (However, in the course of the investigation it was found Edwards-Staten, a licensed broker, no longer lived in Minnesota but in Stone Mountain, Georgia. REAPG operating a real estate brokerage without a licensed broker present was, of course, yet another violation of the law, according to Detective Cardenas)

Other players in this little drama included Larry Maxwell's son, Larry Scott, and an individual named Terrance Large, who was "both president and a loan officer" at Worldlink.

To make this little drama even more tangled, here are some of the titles held by Larry Maxwell:

Worldlink Loan Officer. Territorial franchise owner of Realty Executives. Real estate agent at REAPG. Certified Residential Specialist. Graduate of the Realtors Institute.

It certainly sounds like Maxwell was a "one stop shop."

It All Started With "J.F." (Well, His Tenacious Wife, Really)

A married man named "J.F." was the one who caused the extensive, wide-ranging criminal investigation to be launched when J.F. received a mortgage statement in the male from Avelo Mortgage for a house at 1564 Hillside Ave. N.

J.F. had never owned the house nor been associated with it. He informed Avelo of this fact, and alleged this was a case of "identity fraud." Initially, J.F. approached the Plymouth Police Department. Mail kept coming to J.F. for 1564 Hillside Ave. N, stuff about "unpaid insurance premiums" and "delinquent tax notices" and, to put the frosting on the cake, a Christmas card from Trent Bowman, a loan officer at Centennial Mortgage and funding, which mentioned 1564 Hillside Ave. N.

It turns out Avelo and Ocwen are "successors in interest" to loans granted by Centennial Mortgage & Funding and Centennial, Inc.

J.F.'s wife was very involved in digging into this mess, at one point enlisting the help of a "real estate friend," (apparently named "Havlish") who contacted Bowman (he of the Christmas card) and found out Bowman was the in-house loan officer who handled the first and--good grief--SECOND mortgage loans on J.F.'s stolen identity. The real estate agent found out REAPG and Maxwell acted "as both listing and buying agent" for 1564 Hillside Ave. N.

Fully caught up in her "detective" role, J.F.'s wife went to the office of Centennial Mortgage and obtained HUD-1 Settlement Statements for the two mortgages, obtaining the name of the title company: First USA Title.

Then, "Mrs. J.F." spoke to an office manager and "an attorney who purported to represent First USA Title." Here, Mrs. J.F. learned there was a "fraud alert" on 1564 Hillside Ave. N. but, shockingly, First USA Title had closed on two other mortgages for a residential property located at 8900 12th Avenue South, Bloomington, Minnesota, both in the name of "J.F." At that very moment, four more residential properties were being prepared for closing in the name of J.F.

Closing documents for 1564 Hillside Avenue North and 8900 12th Ave. S., Bloomington, showed a false driver's license and false social security card for J.F., false tax statements, flase W-2 forms, false pay stubs for UPS (where J.F. is ACTUALLY employed!) and false bank statements.

First USA Title contacted Maxwell to find out what (the expletive) was going on, and Maxwell said J.F. was "an old family friend for 18 years" and assured the title company not to worry.

Maxwell then provided yet more false info about J.F., including a bank statement, tax returns, 401K plan, pay stubs and "other information." (Christmas cards? OK, that was just me wondering)

Here's free advice for J.F., as follows:

NEVER cheat on your wife. She'll find a thread and follow it all the way to the bedroom of your mistress. Never, never, never cheat on your wife, J.F.

Untangling The Web Of Lies

Detective Cardenas met with "several officers" of Centennial Mortgage & Funding, Inc. about the fraud, and obtained more info, including an "incomplete spreadsheet" containing data from their records about suspected fraud. The tangled web now spread to one Tanya Patterson, who had purchased 3431 Penn Ave. N., 3123 Newton Ave. N. and 4940-4946 101st Lane Northeast in Blaine, Minnesota.

Trent Bowman was the inhouse loan officer, here, and police talked to him in his home. Bowman said he had done "40 to 50" loan transactions with Maxwell over the past few years. These were "no document" loans extended on the basis of a "good credit score" possessed by J.F.

(The police document phrases it well: "which the real J.F. then had." No telling what J.F.'s credit score is NOW)

Bowman's ties to Maxwell ran deep. Maxwell had acted as "dual agent" in the sale of Bowman's deceased mother's house at 3122 Russell Avenue North, Minneapolis. In doing this deal, Maxwell managed to disburse $31,000 to an entity called "Gill Construction" which, according to Bowman, had never done any work on the home. Bowman confronted Maxwell "out in the hallway at the closing" and Maxwell said, hey, he "got the deal done." The house was sold for even more than Bowman had it appraised for and, further, Bowman felt under pressure from family members to sell the house.

(Maxwell's son, Larry Scott, was the listing agent)

Search Warrant At 2309 River Point Circle

Armed with this evidence and testimony, police served a search warrant on Maxwell's house/business headquarters as well as, incidentally, his "two Mercedes Benz automobiles and one Infiniti." Officers also searched Worldlink's offices at 800 Washington Ave. N. The warrants were served "consecutively" on November 15, 2007. So many documents were seized that, as of February 2008, Cardenas was still reviewing documents but the detective estimated "we uncovered and seized dozens of fraudulent loan applications" either "closed or attempted to be closed."

(At this point, some information is crossed out of the "amended complaint" for an unknown reason. It mentions a "Donald T. Williams" who is lsited as an owner or taxpayer for the following addresses: 411 Penn Ave. N., 3645 Aldrish Ave. N., 2806 Oliver Ave. N., and 2731 Upton Ave. N. A false driver's license was found in the name of Donald T. Williams, reads the "crossed out" information. Williams comes up later in this same complaint, and it appears the crossing out involved some kind of document revision for purposes of clarity)

At Maxwell's home/office the police officers "uncovered and seized" two buyer/borrower closing packets prepared by First USA Title, together with uncashed checks for the disbursements issued to J.F. at closing out of the loan proceeds. A check register was also found in Maxwell's "night stand" showing payments made out to "J.F." in the amounts of $10,000 and $1,900 shortly before closings of the properties.

Maxwell was arrested that same day and taken to the Bloomington Police Department where, in a taped interview, he admitted to "becoming reckless" but somehow couldn't explain why he had written two checks out to J.F.

The detective asked Maxwell to explain why he was in possession of a counterfeit Minnesota driver's license for Donald T. Williams. Maxwell acknowledged he was "in a tough spot." Reading this account, I have to wonder at what point Maxwell said something including the phrase "my attorney" and "right to remain silent."

The house at 1564 Hillside Ave. N. was purchased--using J.F.'s stolen identity--June 27, 2006, for $179,900. I've heard through the grapevine the house in question is a wreck and should be bulldozed, and wasn't much better in 2006.

The Name "Jerry Moore" Comes Into The Mix

This is the point which is of special interest to some individuals in the Jordan neighborhood, the point where former JACC Executive Director Jerry Moore's name comes into the story. I'm going to post that particular paragraph in its entirety, as follows:

"The documents (about 1564 Hillside Ave. N.) reveal that, based on the fraudulent loan applications initially prepared by Maxwell (a Worldlink loan officer) and representations of Maxwell and REAPG, Centennial Mortgage and Funding, Inc. and its affiliate, Centennial, Inc., granted J.F.'s stolen identity first and second mortgage loans in the amounts of $143,920 and $26,9995, respectively, used to purchase the residential property at 1564 Hillside Avenue North."

(Paragraph break not in orginal)

"Based on the closing documents and information received from First USA Title, defendant REAPG received $26,296.31 in commissions for the sale of 1564 Hillside Avenue North (an above-market, 14.6 percent realtor's commission). Additionally, disbursements (...) paid from the proceeds of these fraudulent loans during closing include payments to Gill Construction ($24,100) Jerry Moore, J.L. Moore Consulting ($5,000) and Peter W. Lang for the benefit (of) James Lang ($56,291.78)"

The False J.F. Used Franklin Bank

Information in the investigation document about the fraudulent sale of 8900 12th Ave. S. says First USA Title's files include a copy of a cashier's check drawn on Franklin Bank dated July 26, 2006 "with remitter of J.F. in the amount of $1,900, the same amount appearing in the check register found in Maxwell's nightstand."

Gee, you have to wonder WHO WAS THIS MYSTERIOUS FALSE J.F. who so boldly walked into Franklin Bank and cashed fraudulent checks?

Tanya Patterson Got Used

This brings us to Tanya Patterson. According to Detective Cardenas, Patterson is "an inactive real estate agent in Fort Washington, Maryland." She was convinced by Maxwell that he could find her "investment properties" under market value and occupied by renters, or capable of being rented. Patterson purchased six properties, giving power of attorney to "Larry Charles Smith" to facilitate these transactions.

Maxwell told Patterson to open a bank account at Wells Fargo with a deposit of $100. Patterson says SHE didn't do anything else with this account, and yet four checks totalling $55,000 were made payable to Maxwell and cashed, two others totally $44,000 were made payable to Larry Charles Smith and cashed. Property values were inflated, more deposits were made. Somewhere along the line, "Gill Construction" got a cut for "improvements" to the properties," though no actual improvements were made.

Detective Cardenas concludes Patterson was a "straw buyer." Funds were "staged" in Patterson's bank account at Wells Fargo to grease the skids on these transactions. In one case, there was an inexplicable diversion of $20,605.89 for "Escrow for Judgement to Judgement." (Sic) The word "judgment" isn't even spelled right, but it is spelled in the way laypeople without legal training are prone to spell the word.

The Mysterious Donald T. Williams (A Felon And Possibly King Of The Janitors)

Further investigation by Detective Cardenas and Investigator Miller tracked down Donald Williams on December 7, 2007, at 2731 Upton Avenue North. A tenant lived there, and said Donald Williams receives mail there, and he was the property owner. One piece of mail that was "very important" came from a "Tina" at the "Welfare Office." Donald Williams--described as short, bald-headed, black, reportedly drove a gray "Benz."

It turns out "Donald T. Williams" is actually Tyrone Tyson Williams, and "Donald Williams" is an alias associated with this person, who has about eight aliases and an FBI rap sheet. Refusing to meet with investigators, but speaking to the investigators by phone, Tyrone Tyson Whatever claimed to work at a business named "Jani-King." It turns out Whatever was on probation, and hadn't notified his parole officer (Joi Kvern) of any address change. The investigators learned from Kvern that Williams had claimed to be in business with "Rochelle Packard" of "Jani-King."

Packard may be Williams' "wife or partner," known to reside at one point at 411 Penn Ave. South, and a co-defendant in the drug case that convicted Williams. Williams had once told his parole officer of his interest in "going to Canada" to do business. The parole officer told Williams he couldn't do that while on probation. And so another dream bit the dust.

On December 19, the officers executed a search warrant on 411 Penn Ave. S., where they found Williams there like a sitting duck. At the Bloomington Police Department, this duck sang like a mockingbird, spilling everything about Maxwell. For each dirty real estate deal, William Of The Eight Or Nine Aliases received $8,000 to $10,000 by personal check. Williams claimed he didn't use any false driver's license at these closings, but an identification issued by Hennepin County Technical College.

And, unfortunately, Tyrone Tyson WIlliams signs his name with a "distinctive 'T' similar to the number 7," and that's how Tyrone would sign the name of "Donald T. Williams" on these transactions facilitated by Larry Maxwell. In one instance, there was an "undated, blank purchase agreement pre-signed by Donald T. Williams as buyer."

In the transaction at 3654 Aldrich Ave. N., another name comes up: Jolanda Combs. The document notes, in a rather dry way, "Ms. Combs is an employee or agent of REAPG, who works as Maxwell's assistant, and she was present at Maxwell's home and REAPG office during the execution of the search warrant there."

Uh huh.

Well, maybe more will come out about THAT later.

A Very Active Investigation

The document concludes with a "laundry list" of charges...a bunch of theft, swindle, forgery, and low-down dirty dealing. I have information I can't reveal at this time leading me to believe the Maxwell investigation is VERY active, with new leads appearing as recently as the last several days.

IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION, contact Detective Cardenas of the Bloomington Police Department.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tayna Patterson- the straw buyer- was also the "owner" of our problem duplex down here on 11th Avenue in Bancroft, South Minneapolis. There was constant drug dealing and partying on an otherwise quiet street until the water was turned off.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you & all that you are doing. I have been out of the mtg business for a couple of years now, but this stuff reeks. I hope Maxwell & all the others that knowingly & willingly played the game get whats coming to them! Keep up the good work Johnny.

Anonymous said...

Somebody should have made a site like this for "J" John Beckstrand.

Anonymous said...

Are you aware that the arrests made and reported on KSTP news last night of, Bernard Holmes and Tynessia Snoddy, were connected to all or many of the Maxwell deals. Maxwell had Holmes make the false ID's to be used at closings. Check out the news report online. It was aired on 2/18/09. You can see Maxwell's name on many of the papers and can see the 2 houses bought under J.F's name in those documents as well.

You did a very good job getting many of the details in your story. Keep up the good work.

Johnny Northside said...

I was aware of it, yes, because I'd heard a lot of the back story about Snoddy and...well, Snoddy and others. Also, if you watch the television coverage on the internet, and you freeze the screen, you can actually see the name "Maxwell" on some of the documents they show.

One gets the sense the Maxwell net is widening, and there will be MORE arrests!

On another note: a commenter on this thread left a "not to be posted" note. My reply: thank you for your kind words and wouldn't I love to get a firsthand account like that? Email to hoff_john@yahoo.com. Come to this blog and tell me you sent something there, I don't use that address all the time.

Johnny Northside said...

P.S. I said at the end of this blog post the Maxwell investigation was VERY ACTIVE, didn't I?

Anonymous said...

Dear Johnny-
As I read your story, I am embarrassed to admit that I actually worked for Centennial Mortgage, but what I am not embarrassed about is that another co-worker and I tried very hard to stop these loans- these specific transactions are quite clear in our memory. I am sad to see that Centennial Mortgage and TB were played out to look like the victims. This co-worker and I on many occasions would bring to management's attention the multiple blazing red flags on Larry Maxwell's transactions and we were told by the bank President himself that we were ganging up on TB and sabotaging his business. We were told that Larry Maxwell was Trent Bowman's main source of business and we were messing with his life and liveliehood. They didn't want to know that Larry had prior run ins and had his real estate license taken away on previous offenses. We were strong armed in letting the transactions slide- because no one was making money if they didn't. The sick part is that it went all the way to HR and this other person was basically forced out of her position and ultimately lost her job because she was trying to do the right thing! Centennial execs knew something fishy was going on- but made us put our blinders on and push the loans through. And they said they had no idea...

Anonymous said...

I think when investigators are on to something that may or not arise a lot of people jump on board to try to save themselves. Maxwell may be acquitted and then what? well i guess we will see what happens but one is not guilty until its proven. People make me sick who assume and jump on board with the idea he's the bad guy.

firsttimehomebuyers said...

Minneapolis real estate agent Larry Maxwell was convicted on 18 counts of mortgage fraud involving at least $2 million in phony Home Loans.

Suppose that having at least two local con artists serve as character witnesses helped him much?

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

@firstimehomebuyer,

Who are you? Can you give us a name, Mr. or Ms. Loan Officer? Why did you come to a post that is rather old, give us no new insight on the topic at hand, and then put in links to a scam mortgage site?

Because you're a spambot, that's why.

Anonymous said...

or because Megan's site links to this info

Guy Fawkes said...

Speaking of J Beckstrand, he now calls himself J James Wendell and lives in Central America.

His Facebook page is facebook.com/derechisto

I hope this bankster is thrown in jail for his fraudulent actions.

I will be more than happy to rat this piece of crap out.

Johnny Northside! said...

I received the following comment, replicated below with deletions marked by XXX.
---------------------
Speaking of J Beckstrand, he now calls himself XXXX and lives in XXX. His Facebook page is xxx I hope this bankster is thrown in jail for his fraudulent actions. I will be more than happy to rat this piece of crap out.
--------------------
I'm withholding some of this info for now. Trying to verify. Off the top of my head, I'm not even sure who J Beckstrand is and where he is in the criminal complaint, if at all. But if somebody is trying to feed this blog info about the Maxwell case, this blog is interested.

Johnny Northside! said...

I sent a message via Facebook to inquire if the person you named is one and the same or not. Please give me more info if what you're saying is true.

Johnny Northside! said...

I've looked through the whole criminal complaint and there's no J Beckstrand named. I don't see the need to put any time into this if you can't give me some information on why I should care about it. I am not seeing any Maxwell connection.

Anonymous said...

You should look in to the mortgage fraud comitted by Howie Gangestad against the cat lady and now Howie even ripped off his own son on a house down in Mankato and his son has a judgment against himself for over $40,000!

Johnny Northside! said...

I am withholding a comment alleging a different fraud against a well known North Minneapolis character.

Look, anonymous poster, give me a court file number or something.

Johnny Northside! said...

That comment is now published, it is the one naming Howie Gangestad.

Johnny Northside! said...

Tanya Patterson's name comes up with this property on Newton Ave. N. on a list of 2008 tax assessments.

Service Address: 3123 NEWTON AVE N PID:0902924320085 Ward: 4 Taxpayer: SPS 3123
Account: 1310500304 Past Due Balance: $665.05 Billpayer: TANYA PATTERSON
Total Assessment Amount for Property: $665.05