A federal court late Wednesday denied an injunction filed by the U.S. Attorneys' office in Brooklyn against Lend America, a development that will allow the nonbank — for now — to continue originating FHA loans.
"The burden is high to get a judge to shut down a business instantly," said a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Spokesman Brian Sullivan noted that HUD still has a "notice of violations" against the Melville, N.Y., company which the company has less than a month to answer. He said HUD will continue to pursue action against the company. Almost all of the firm's production is backed by the Federal Housing Administration.
In a statement the lender said, "We are obviously pleased with the court's decision. We look forward to continuing our partnership with HUD and our mission of providing affordable financing for those borrowers in need."
Earlier this week the Department of Justice and HUD sought a court injunction to ban Lend America from originating FHA loans, accusing the nonbank lender with fraud in regard to $14 million in production. (The company also does business as Ideal Mortgage Bankers Ltd.) The government also sought injunctive relief against company executive Michael Ashley who holds the title "chief business strategist."
According to figures compiled by National Mortgage News, Lend America ranks 18th nationwide in terms of Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed security issuance. It services about $850 million in GNMA-backed product. Lend America recently stepped up plans for expansion into correspondent mortgage banking and wholesale that included FHA production.
According to Newsday, back in 1993 Mr. Ashley pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud while employed by Liberty Mortgage Banking of Long Island. Asked about the guilty plea, a spokesman for the company said, "In Michael's eyes all that is in the past."