Loan-Modification Scams Only News When There’s Hotness Involved

President Obama’s campaign to encourage mortgage modifications by any means necessary hasn’t done much to keep Americans in their homes, but it has had a profound effect on U.S. journalism: It’s provided such a steady stream of loan modification frauds that the loan-mod scam has become this decade’s version of the bus-plunge or the double-dipping city worker. Every day’s news features one such story, or two, or three

The only way to freshen up a warhorse like that is to add some "almond-shaped eyes...flawless skin... and full beautiful lips."

Meet Saman Hasnain, a former Mrs. Pakistan now on the lam after she and her husband allegedly swindled more than a dozen Californians out of the cash they’d saved by not making their mortgage payments. The San Jose Mercury News explains how Hasnain worked – by being so hot even married women fall for her: 

"She was really pretty," said Korina Diaz, a Gilroy waitress who lost her ranch after paying the couple $11,500 to lower her mortgage payments. "She wore a skirt suit, high heels, nylons -- like a real good-looking professional lady."

Saman's striking appearance was crucial, Chen said, because the couple didn't know their victims and had to make a good first impression. They attracted homeowners by word-of-mouth and through fliers passed out at ethnic supermarkets after the housing market tanked, according to Chen.

Now the Santa Clara County deputy district attorney has charged them with ripping off 17 people -- just a fraction of the 80 to 100 families he says they defrauded. The Hasnains each face 19 felony counts of conspiracy to commit grand theft in the loan-modification scheme, and Jawad has been charged with nine additional counts of felony grand theft for allegedly enticing victims from 2006 through July 2010 into investing in a fraudulent 10-unit condominium development in Fremont.

However, there is one problem: Earlier this month, the couple fled with their two young sons to Lahore, Pakistan -- a country that has no extradition arrangement with the U.S.

The Merc and the U.K. Daily Mail (which really does have all the American news that matters) use wonderfully prim phrasing in their headlines: Hasnain "used her striking appearance" or "used striking looks" to swindle people. "Striking" is one of those terms like "handsome" when used to describe a woman, and Hasnain is of a certain age, but she does appear comely in the Mail’s tastefully out-of-focus photo and other pictures. 

More striking than Hasnain is how common loan modification swindles really are. They’re not even news at this point, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. The mortgage modification market is a giant fraud in plain sight, in which stupid lenders and shameless deadbeats are invited to lie to each other even more brazenly than when they were taking out the original crappy loans. 

As you can see from the latest OCC/OTS Mortgage Metrics Report [pdf], modifying loans continues to do what it did in 2009, 2010, 2011 and earlier this year – drag out the pain of mortgage default without doing much to keep bad borrowers in the homes they don’t want to pay for. Redefaults (starting at page 34) are ticking back up across all categories. That goes for both voluntary modifications and loans modified under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). 

I have been slicing and dicing these numbers for almost four years, and there’s no way around it: The more loans you modify, the more deadbeat recidivism you get. This has not stopped President Obama and his much-depleted economic brain trust from doubling down on their failed modification efforts, the only practical effect of which has been to delay the market bottom and prevent the long-awaited real estate recovery. 

Amazingly, the only official willing to cry "Hold, enough" is Edward DeMarco, interim director of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who draws the line at having the taxpayers cough up to reduce the principal on bad loans. Predictably, DeMarco is getting vilified by magic-unicorn economists. Here’s the L.A. Times’ Jim Puzzanghera explaining why DeMarco is "considered by a growing number of people to be the single biggest obstacle to the housing market recovery." (Fair and balanced, Puzzy! Fair and balanced!) 

DeMarco is right and the "growing number" of critics Puzzanghera refers to (only two of whom are named) are wrong. Cutting principal slightly reduces the rate of redefault, but the change is negligible. Government loan modification policy is not just immoral; it’s ineffective. Worse, it creates an ethical vacuum into which swindlers, chiselers, fraudsters and community organizers are naturally drawn. The only difference between Hasnain and the rest of them is that she’s a little easier on the eye. 

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  • Question no. 58||

    Why is it there are so few female libertarians, again?

  • Libertarian, transg., bisexual||

    Speak for yourself.

  • I Blame Videogames!||

    Speak for yourself.

    Back when Wide Indention was around here (and I thought he was a guy) I always thought it would piss him off to know he was getting me laid by a hot little libertarian woman who loved when I baited him. I was just waiting for the right time to spring it on him. I guess I'm the only person here who misses WI.

  • For Farm, for City, for State||

    Speak for yourself.

  • I Blame Videogames!||

    Speak for yourself.

    I did!

  • shrike||

    Better dead than Red

  • I Blame Videogames!||

    Better dead than Red

    Better dead Reds, then.

  • Jamie Kelly||

    One night with her, and she can HAVE my fucking home.

  • ||

    Ha, one night with me, and she'd be giving me her home (if she still has one).

  • President Obama||

    Who needs an extradition agreement? We've got drones!

  • Jeffersonian||

    The jokes just write themselves, don't they?

  • ||

    However, there is one problem: Earlier this month, the couple fled with their two young sons to Lahore, Pakistan -- a country that has no extradition arrangement with the U.S.

    Don't we have some sort of armed drone arrangement? I'm sure Dear Leader can do something about this. I mean they are clearly terrorists. They're middle eastern, and like did some bad stuff.

  • Barack Obama||

    This is why Gitmo is operating.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    DeMarco said he’s only trying to follow the law, which requires him to “preserve and conserve” the assets of the companies. If members of Congress believe principal reductions are a priority, they should change the law, he said.

    But given the bitter partisan divide in an election year, Democrats said they would never be able to get such legislation passed. Obama could try to use a recess appointment to replace DeMarco, but analysts said he’s unlikely to do that after the controversy surrounding his recess appointments in January.

    Get a load of this dick. Trying to get Congress to alter legislation to support their priorities.

  • ||

    Get a load of this dick.

    Freudian slip? Mrs. Hasnain is quite comely. Or cumly. Whatever floats your boat.

    Trying to get Congress to alter legislation to support their priorities.

    The nerve of a public official displaying a scant glimpse of ethical behavior. Clearly, he must be purged post haste.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That Mrs. Pakistan can harbor my terrorist any day, if you know what I mean.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    Yeah, I'd Operation Neptune Spear her Abbottabad compound.

  • ||

    Needs more HeroicMulatto Death-Pr0n-O-Matic(tm) to be compelling. You're slipping in your Ye Olde Age, HM.

  • HeroicMulatto||

    Well, in a sane and just world....

  • American Delight||

    And then her family would have to honor kill her.

    Don't be so selfish.

  • ||

    And then her family would have to honor kill her.

    Like the pictures of her sans burka and hijab have'nt already sealed that deal? Salman Rushdie, she ain't.

    And she appears to have actually complicit in crimes of fraud, whereas Rushdie merely wrote a slightly inflammatory and provocative tome.

    Say, is that fatwa on Rushdie still in effect?

  • Joe M||

    It's on clearance.

  • ||

    We should invade Pakistan if they refuse to turn over these economic terrorist hobbits

  • Jarritos||

    Hasnain's stupidly shaped nose would look better if it was wedged in my ass crack.

  • ||

    almond-shaped eyes

    This is a hallmark Down's syndrome, by the by.

  • ||

    I have been slicing and dicing these numbers for almost four years, and there’s no way around it: The more loans you modify, the more deadbeat recidivism you get.

    Tim, are you seriously suggesting throwing good money after bad with the mighty swing of an ideological battle ax might (and almost always does) lead to negative and disastrous outcomes?

    Why, there oughta be a (an Iron) law....!

  • omnipotentbot||

    that's an odd thing to say

  • HeroicMulatto||

    Your programming is off, anon-bot. The proper term is "Dat Ass!"

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    So what you're saying is that Mrs Hasnian is scamming people with offers involving... big tracts of land?

  • Joe M||

    A boot stomping on the economy's face... forever.

  • ||

    Not necessarily; the article stated coal exports were up. Wouldn't that be a kicker if coal mining actually increased due to the profitability of exporting it? Where will the eco-theologists go lodge complaints about AGW? China?

  • incontinental||

    so, anyone here win the jackpot?

  • ¢||

    Nah. The pictures are too blurry to get anything more than a little chub goin'.

  • Joe M||

    Thanks for that one last laugh before going to bed.

  • ||

    I'm tired of the ads showing up on my email sidebars saying "Obama wants to lower your home payments!"
    Is that actionable too?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    No. But you can stop it via AdBlock. Use it, and enjoy an adless internet.

  • rho||

    On the downside, immigrant thieves escaped.

    On the upside, they escaped to Pakistan.

    This smells like a wash to me.

  • shrike||

    Liberals Logic: The commerce clause garentees every citizens right to have their balls tickled by a hot blonde on a friday night.

  • A Serious Man||

    Change I can believe in.

  • ||

    The Merc and the U.K. Daily Mail (which really does have all the American news that matters) use wonderfully prim phrasing in their headlines: Hasnain "used her striking appearance" or "used striking looks" to swindle people.

    The paper rendition of the Merc goes for striking contrast, with striking alliteration where possible.

    Headline: "Pagent beauty faces ugly charges"

    Caption: "Saman Hasnain, 41, used her beauty to beguile homeowners, then bilked them, prosecutors allege."

  • Invisible Finger||

    This is exactly why i wont shop at ethnic supermarkets. The state should shut them down to be on the safe side.

  • Killazontherun||

    I could only sit on a jury and pass unbiased judgement on a beautiful woman if it was her second strike as a murder suspect. Something like this is too trivial to consider even if it were her tenth time. There is too much ugliness in the world to lock up a beautiful woman for merely something she did when what she is, that being an aesthetic improvement upon the human condition, holds far greater weight.

  • b-realistic||

    Just publish/spam her less clothed pics to Pakistan along with the evidence against her...I'm sure some nut will get around to 'disciplining' her. The real question is, would they throw acid in her face for immodesty or cut off her hand for theft? Hard to tell in a system with such screwed up moral values...

  • paydayloans@||

    Loan modification companies often attempt to scam borrowers by accepting money or fees for loan modification services and then rejecting any type of loan modification that is plausible for the borrower, or imply minimal work on a file and do not implement negotiating tactics. Meaning they will get a package together for you, submit it to the lender, and accepts whatever the lender which will end up in less favorable results for the homeowner.

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