Foreclosure Scam Sends Fannie Mae Employee to Jail
A former Fannie Mae employee got caught taking bribes to the tune of millions and is now sentenced to 6 years in jail. Fannie Mae employee Shirene Hernandez worked at the Fannie’s Irvine office as an REO foreclosure specialist. She was in charge of putting these properties back into the market so the government and the tax payers can recoup some of the money lost on the bad loans.
The investigation revealed Hernandez used her position to accept bribes from listing brokers to give them the listings. She also took bribes to accept below market offers on these properties as well. The listing brokers racked up huge commissions from these sales through this fraud.
Hernandez’s greed then led her to setup her family members to become Fannie Mae-approved brokers. Once they were established as approved brokers Hernandez steered over $80,0000,000 in Fannie real estate to them which earned her family members $2,000,000 in commissions.
Hernandez then concocted a scheme to get into her own real estate investing business by setting up several aliases and shell companies of her own. She began approving her own significantly below market value bids for Fannie’s REO properties. She was so brazen in her corruption she had her sister bring a duffle bag of $286,450 cash from bribes she collected over the year to close on a property she approved sale of below market value for her own rental portfolio.
“The crime that Hernandez committed was egregious,” the attorneys for the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote in their sentencing memorandum to the judge. “Rather than act in the public’s best interests…she used her position to line her own pockets. She is unremorseful and unrepentant, and would seemingly do it all again if she could avoid being caught.”
The charges she faced were two counts of wire fraud which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years each in a federal prison. The judge sentenced Hernandez to 76 months (6+ years) in prison and ordered restitution of $982,516 be paid back to Fannie Mae. An ugly lesson to those that try and take illegal shortcuts in the game of real estate riches we all chases and yearn for.