The company, which underwrote about $707 million worth of loans since 2002, falsely certified that it conformed to Federal Housing Administration lending standards, according to a complaint filed today in Manhattan federal court.
In fact, the New York-based lender failed to impose a quality-control program and accepted fabricated pay stubs and other false documents from loan applicants, the government alleged. More than 60% of all loans it has underwritten since 2002 have gone into default, according to the complaint.
“The defaults were not happenstance, but rather resulted from Movtady’s and Golden First’s intentionally fraudulent practices,” lawyers in the office of Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara wrote.
Under the FHA program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the government pays claims to lenders when homeowners fail to make payments on their mortgages. The FHA has paid more than $12 million in claims for loans underwritten by Golden First, according to the complaint.
“Golden First and David Movtady churned out bad loans and lied about their compliance with HUD requirements, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars when the loans inevitably defaulted,” Bharara said in a statement.
The government is seeking compensatory damages, triple damages and civil penalties.
Golden First appeared to have stopped underwriting mortgages in 2010, the U.S. alleged. A phone listed for Movtady in Great Neck, N.Y., was disconnected.
In 2009, Manhattan prosecutors filed criminal charges against a former Golden First loan officer, Mark Barnett, as part of a coordinated mortgage and real estate fraud takedown called “Operation Bad Deeds.” Prosecutors brought charges against 41 individuals, alleging they had engaged in mortgage schemes totaling more than $64 million.
Barnett was found not guilty of conspiracy and false statements charges, according to court records.