During the trial, nobody seemed to know anybody.
The borrowers said they didn't know the brokers, the brokers said they didn't know the borrowers, and the brokerage firm said it had never heard of the brokers who were acting in its name.
But in the end, said a Plaza Home Mortgage Bank spokeswoman, "Everyone was found guilty, and everyone is responsible for paying the money."
Plaza announced last week that a California court awarded it over $1 million in damages, concluding a yearlong fraud suit against two borrowers, their brokers, and the brokerage firm that employed them.
Most of the money was awarded as punitive damages, which Plaza does not expect to collect, said Phyllis Downes, executive vice president for loan administration.
Plaza found out about the fraud while performing a quality review on a 1991 loan that defaulted on the first payment, said Ms. Downes. After examining the loan file and another brokered by the same women, it turned out that not a single document relating to the individuals posing as the homebuyers was legitimate.