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Posts by Joan Ferenczy

VP Joan Ferenczy

VP Joan Ferenczy

Joan Ferenczy is Vice President, Financial Instrument Fraud Officer at Freddie Mac. Ferenczy first joined Freddie Mac in 1982 and has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility with the company's fraud investigations unit since 1989. Ferenczy reports to Mark DeLong, Freddie Mac's Senior Vice President of Enterprise Operational Risk Management. Under Ferenczy's direction, Freddie Mac's team of professional investigators aggressively probes and pursues individuals and companies who may have committed fraudulent acts involving mortgages owned by Freddie Mac. These investigations have led to hundreds of indictments and convictions, and tens of millions of dollars in civil judgments and restitution orders.

How to Get a Home Without Getting in Trouble

Ah, spring – when people buy homes, find new places to rent, write checks, sign complex legal documents and – too often – fall victim to real estate fraud. That's why it is so important to know how to protect yourself from fraud before you sign along the dotted line on a lease or a closing document.

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Your Fraud Tips Can Protect Your Neighbors

Thanks to tips from the public and our employees, Freddie Mac launches more mortgage fraud investigations, solves more fraud cases, and protects borrowers by stopping offenders from doing future harm. Like the detectives on TV crime shows, our fraud investigators turn tips into a steady sequence of events that include tracking down leads, interviewing victims, gathering evidence, and working with law enforcement to nab the right suspects. But real-world fraud investigations take much longer than a TV episode. The sooner we receive a good tip, the faster we can “stop the bleeding,” as investigators say.

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Turning Up The Heat on Fraudsters

Recently, Freddie Mac broke up a “ring” of former industry professionals operating a “company” that falsified the income, employment, and assets of their clients to qualify them for mortgage relief they would not normally have been eligible for. Every file this company sent in had identical paystub templates and bank account statements that did not belong to their clients.

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Caveat Renter: Fraudsters Falsely Advertising REO as Rentals

Can you spot the fraud in this rental ad? It looks like your typical Internet home-for-rent ad. This one happened to be on Craigslist and the fraud could cost an unwary renter thousands of dollars. Here’s the scam: the advertiser doesn’t own the house at the address. Freddie Mac does. It was never for rent and it’s scheduled to close next month. (Craigslist immediately pulled the ad after they were notified about the problem.)

Unfortunately, we’re hearing more reports about fraudsters trying to cash in on the housing crisis’s remaining foreclosed homes by advertising them as rentals on the Internet. It works like this. Once the house is sold at foreclosure, the fraudster posts an ad online and tries to rent it before it can be sold to a new owner. People contacting the fraudster about the ad are asked to submit their personal credit information as part of the lease application plus two month’s rent.

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Looking Mortgage Fraud in the Face

Mortgage fraud doesn't look like a TV crime scene with yellow tape and flashing lights. It generally doesn't show up on security camera footage or in the sort of dramatic photos that make the front page or go viral on the Internet. That's because mortgage fraudsters, like any predators, rely on camouflage to hide their intentions and lull their victims into a false sense of security.

Freddie Mac's fraud investigation team has over 20 years of field experience uncovering such "camouflage" and helping law enforcement agencies prosecute mortgage fraudsters.

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