Final Action Memo: Agent-Broker of HUD-Insured Single-Family Property Settled Allegations of Making a False Certification on a Preforeclosure Sale Closing Worksheet

Published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General on 2016-09-21.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                                        U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
                                       HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
                                                 OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL

                                            September 21, 2016
                                                                                             MEMORANDUM NO:

TO:           Dane M. Narode, Associate General Counsel for Program Enforcement, Office of
              General Counsel, CACC

FROM:         Ronald J. Hosking, Regional Inspector General for Audit, 7AGA

SUBJECT:      Final Action Memo: Agent-Broker of HUD-Insured Single-Family Property
              Settled Allegations of Making a False Certification on a Preforeclosure Sale
              Closing Worksheet  


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector General
(OIG), reviewed preforeclosure sales under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program
in the St. Louis, MO, area.


The preforeclosure sale option allows borrowers in default (resulting from an adverse and
unavoidable financial situation) to sell their home at fair market value and use the sale proceeds
to satisfy the mortgage debt even if the proceeds are less than the amount owed. This option is
appropriate for borrowers whose financial situation requires that they sell their home, but they
are unable to do so without FHA relief because the gross recovery on the sale of their property
(sale price minus sale expenses) is less than the amount owed on the mortgage.

The services of a real estate broker-agent must be retained to market a property within 7 days of
the date on which the approval to participate is granted. The broker-agent selected should have
no conflict of interest with the borrower, the lender, the appraiser, or the purchaser associated
with the preforeclosure sale transaction. Any conflict of interest, appearance of a conflict, or
self-dealing by any of the parties to the transaction is strictly prohibited. A broker-agent must
never be permitted to claim a sales commission on a preforeclosure sale of his or her own
property or that of an immediate family member (for example, spouse, sibling, parent, or child)
(Mortgagee Letter 2008-43).

                                                Office of Audit Region 7
                                  400 State Avenue, Suite 501, Kansas City, KS 66101
                                      Phone (913) 551-5870, Fax (913) 551-5877
                           Visit the Office of Inspector General Website at www.hudoig.gov


                                                     RESULTS OF REVIEW

We found that the realtor for the preforeclosure sale entered into a consulting agreement with the
purchaser of the property. The agreement required that when the purchaser later sold the
property, he would pay half of the net proceeds from that sale to the realtor’s consulting
company. Despite having this additional agreement in place, the realtor signed the
preforeclosure sale closing worksheet as the seller’s agent-broker and certified, “…there are no
hidden terms or special understandings with the buyer, seller, closing agent or mortgagee.” The
property was sold a second time on the day the preforeclosure sale closed. The title company
paid $19,140 from the proceeds of the second sale to the realtor’s consulting company. HUD
strictly prohibits any conflict of interest or self dealing by preforclosure sale participants. HUD
paid a claim for $139,323 to the lender because the preforeclosure sale price was less than the
balance of the loan.

On December 17, 2015, HUD served a complaint on the realtor, alleging that the certification on
the closing worksheet was false and that the realtor made multiple false statements in the arm’s-
length affidavit and seeking a penalty and an assessment under the Program Fraud Civil
Remedies Act.

HUD and the realtor entered into a settlement as both parties mutually desired to avoid further
expense and litigation and to reach a satisfactory resolution of this matter. The settlement
agreement did not constitute an admission of liability or fault on the part of any party and was
voluntary and entered into by the realtor after due consideration of the terms of the agreement.
The realtor agreed to pay HUD $26,500.


We recommend that HUD’s Office of General Counsel, Office for Program Enforcement,

              1A. Acknowledge that the settlement agreement for $26,500 represents an amount due

As of the date of this memorandum the settlement amount due HUD had been paid in full.
Therefore, no further action is required by the Office of General Counsel. At issuance of this
memorandum, HUD OIG will enter a management decision into HUD’s Audit Resolution and
Corrective Action Tracking System, along with the supporting payment information to show that
final action was completed.