Thursday, April 18, 2013

Quartet Cop Guilty Pleas In Iowa 'Free House' Case; Hubby Conned Lender To Grant Home Loan Without Wife's Signature, Making Mortgage Void Under State Homestead Law

In Des Moines, Iowa, the Des Moines Register reports:

  • Four people, including a Des Moines police lieutenant, pleaded guilty Friday to charges related to a mortgage fraud scheme, federal prosecutors announced.

    The two couples were accused of falsifying loan information and taking part in a plan to exploit a mortgage law loophole to obtain a free house in Ankeny.

    Jamie Bowers-Danielson, 35, and Matthew Danielson, 35, of Ankeny both pleaded guilty of bank fraud. Bowers-Danielson also pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

    Bobbi Jo Wojewoda, 43, of Grimes, pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Her husband, Des Moines police Lt. Wade Charles Wojewoda, 45, of Grimes, pleaded guilty of receipt of proceeds obtained under false pretenses, related to the 2003 purchase of the couple’s home.

    In his written plea agreement, Danielson admitted to listing himself as single to deceive a lender into giving him a mortgage without obtaining his wife’s signature, thus making the mortgage void, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Nicholas A Klinefeldt.

    The Danielsons’ case gained notoriety in 2011, when the couple persuaded an Iowa appellate court to void a foreclosure proceeding based on an an 1888 law that requires both spouses to sign a mortgage.(1)

    Bowers-Danielson, who worked as a loan originator for two different companies between 2003 and 2007, used her position to fake information on loan applications for herself and others who otherwise would not have qualified for the loans, according the news release.

    Bobbi Jo Wojewoda, meanwhile, used her position as an apprentice appraiser to inflate the values of homes, including her own, to help herself and others qualify for mortgage loans, according to the news release.

    According to an indictment unsealed in 2012, Wade Wojewoda signed documents with false information.

    Wojewoda remains employed by the Des Moines Police Department in an administrative position where he is not allowed to supervise other employees, said Sgt. Jason Halifax, a Des Moines police spokesman.

    Des Moines police officials will determine the future of Wojewoda’s employment following an internal investigation that will begin now that the criminal case has concluded, Halifax said. Wojewoda was re-assigned and stripped of his patrol supervision responsibilities following the indictment.

    The Danielsons will be sentenced July 26. The Wojewodas will be sentenced July 31. All four remain released from jail pending their sentencing.

    Bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud are punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million. Receipt of proceeds under false pretenses is punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $100,000.

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