CU Victim In Fraud Case

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MOBILE, Ala.-A prominent Realtor, her son and daughter-in-law pleaded guilty to an expanding mortgage fraud that enabled them to buy expensive vacation homes at Alabama's Gulf Shores using "straw borrowers" to qualify for credit union loans. Other lenders victimized by the scheme were ABN AMRO, First Tennessee Bank, US Bank and First Choice Funding.

Joan Teeters, who owned Joan T. Realty, along with her son, Jonathon Marc Nattier, and daughter-in-law, Christina Nattier, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in a scheme that qualified dozens of borrowers for loans from First Educators CU in Hoover and other lenders.

A fourth member of the conspiracy, Bernelle Land, has agreed to plead guilty in her home state of New Jersey. Charges are still pending against several alleged co-conspirators.

Teeters and other members of the conspiracy would arrange for a traditional mortgage while at the same time persuading owners of condominiums near the beach to extend special second mortgages, in which buyers would eventually pay a portion of the sales price directly to the seller, according to prosecutors. Under the scheme, Teeter's son Jonathan Nattier and other straw buyers agreed to tender offers for the property and then used money provided by other members of the conspiracy for down payments. Straw buyers were promised a portion of the proceeds from subsequent sales, prosecutors said.

Credit unions and other lenders specifically forbid such "seller-financed second mortgages," but Teeters admitted that the conspirators would direct the title company to prepare two different settlement statements using falsified HUD documents to conceal that fact. Phony, or "straw" borrowers would qualify for the loans using falsified loan documents that overstated income and listed assets they did not own.

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