|Possible cohousing financial crime spree||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: katie-henry (katie-henryatt.net)|
|Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006 16:51:28 -0800 (PST)|
NOTE: The possible crime spree I've described below is only believed to involve financial scams, such as identity theft and mortgage fraud. There is no reason to believe there are plans for burglaries or robberies or other crimes against property or violent crimes. (Personal observation: I am mystified as to why they would target cohousing communities. If I wanted to operate financial scams, cohousing is the LAST place I would go. Too many smart, informed residents, and they all talk to each other. Makes no sense to me. Plus, cohousing communities don't have that many resales.) ------------------------------ I just got off the phone with Detective Walter Siegel (sp?) of the Shaker Heights Police Department outside Cleveland, Ohio, 216-491-1275. (Yes, I looked up their number and verified that I was calling a real police station and called back.) They just arrested two subjects for mortgage fraud and found materials in their possession indicating that they were about to embark on a cohousing tour of the Northeast U.S., starting in Vermont and visiting the following communities. Cobb Hill in Vermont EcoVillage at Ithaca Hundredfold Farm Takoma Village Cohousing Eastern Village Cohousing EcoVillage of Loudon Upon questioning, the suspects confirmed that this was their plan. He called me because the suspects had my name and number as the contact for Eastern Village. I can only assume they got this info from either www.cohousing.org or the FIC web site, since I'm the EVC contact on those sites and my name doesn't appear on our site (www.easternvillage.org). The suspects had all sorts of literature on cohousing, green building, sustainable farming, etc. He's calling the contacts for the other communities on the list as well. (EcoVillage Loudon, I called your contact person on his behalf. He was getting tired of making calls. You can call him back if you want.) The suspects' names are Jeffrey St. Martin (also goes by Mahun) and Ayanna Israel (also goes by McRae). (Spellings not confirmed.) Mr. St. Martin is on probation for bank fraud, and Ms. Israel is $900,000 in debt. Both parties are suspects in a number of cases of mortgage fraud, identify theft, inflated appraisal scams, and credit hijacking. One of their scams is to buy property, then enter into rent-to-own agreements with buyers, then fail to forward the payments to the bank. The buyer thinks everything is fine until the sheriff shows up with an eviction notice. They are members of the Black Hebrew Israelites, based in Corsicana, TX (near Waco), which is on the FBI watch list for domestic terrorism. I spent two minutes Googling and found that there's a branch of this group that lives communally somewhere in Israel, so perhaps they just wanted to learn about cohousing, but Detective Siegel seemed pretty certain that they were planning financial scams. He had no idea if they were working independently or are part of a larger group. In a possibly unrelated development, EVC's resale coordinator received a call yesterday from a woman who claims she is an ambassador to the UN and says that she owns our building and is going to sue the developer and have us all evicted. She has apparently been hanging around the courtyard talking to people (she commented that we are all very friendly and forthcoming with information), and she also called our management company. (Their number is posted by the front door, as is mine, but I haven't heard from her yet.) Most of us were dismissing her as a crackpot, but we're rethinking in light of this development. I'd be interested in knowing if any other communities have had similar odd experiences recently. Katie Eastern Village Cohousing Silver Spring, MD
Possible cohousing financial crime spree katie-henry, January 27 2006
- Re: Possible cohousing financial crime spree Sharon Villines, January 27 2006
- Re: Possible cohousing financial crime spree dwoodard, January 28 2006
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