Four indicted in alleged Chicago mortgage fraud scheme

December 22, 2005

Accused of $774,000 real estate loan fraud

Inman News

Four Illinois individuals have been indicted by an Illinois grand jury in connection with an alleged $774,000 Chicago mortgage fraud scheme said to have operated in 1999 and 2000.

Mark J. Helfand, an attorney; Maria Jackson, a former loan officer; Dawn Jackson, a real estate appraiser; and Jacqueline Jackson, a former loan officer, are accused of bank fraud and aiding and abetting in the indictment filed Dec. 13.

The indictment alleges that the defendants would acquire residential properties in Chicago in need of renovation and rehabilitation listed for sale at prices below $50,000 with the intent of "flipping," or quickly reselling, the properties.

Helfand and another attorney allegedly supplied the funds to purchase the properties, according to the indictment.The Jacksons would seek individuals to whom they could immediately resell the properties, the indictment charged.

Maria Jackson, her husband James J. Jackson, Jr. (not named as a defendant in the indictment) and Jacqueline Jackson allegedly solicited friends and relatives to buy properties, according to the indictment.

The three enticed potential buyers by promising to help pay for renovations and repairs and help them obtain mortgage loans, according to the indictment.

Some of the people that they persuaded to buy properties could not afford to purchase them and were not financially qualified for mortgage loans, according to the indictment.

The three would gather background information from potential buyers and cause mortgage loan applications to be prepared, the indictment said. At times, they allegedly prepared loan applications as loan officers for Aarhus.

Maria Jackson also referred potential buyers to Home Financial of America Corp. for preparation of loan applications, the indictment alleged.

Maria Jackson, James J. Jackson Jr., and Jacqueline Jackson caused false information to be placed in mortgage applications, including false information regarding income, assets and employment, the indictment alleged.

Helfand, Maria Jackson and others allegedly caused false documents to be created to support the loan applications, including false verifications of deposit, employment and rent, according to the indictment.

Dawn Jackson allegedly prepared appraisals that misrepresented the current conditions and fair market values of the property. She appraised properties as if they had been rehabbed and renovated when she knew that they needed rehab and renovation in order to meet the appraised values, the indictment alleged.

Jackson allegedly also represented that the subject properties were comparable to properties that she knew had greater values. On at least one occasion, she prepared an appraisal of a property that she herself intended to sell, the indictment alleged.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or