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DLLR News

 

Criminal Charges Brought in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

 

Homeowners defrauded of over $100,000

BALTIMORE, MD (March 23, 2012) – The Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office has charged Rodney Getlan, age 45, of Owings Mills, with felony theft, operating as a credit service business without a license, mortgage fraud, and related charges. The charges are in connection with a scheme in which he allegedly defrauded homeowners of considerable upfront fees for mortgage modifications and stole their monthly mortgage payments. Getlan was arrested on March 20, 2012 following an investigation that also included the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation’s (DLLR) Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation and the Baltimore County Police Department. He is currently being held on $500,000 bail.

“Commissioner Mark Kaufman and the entire Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation work tirelessly to protect our most vulnerable neighbors from predatory practices,” said Maryland Labor, Licensing & Regulation Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez. “These charges are the first step in a victory for Maryland consumers, too many of whom have been victimized as they struggle to keep their homes. I thank the Baltimore County State’s Attorney and Police Department for their help in this investigation.”

“The Rodney Getlan case is one of the most extensive fraud cases committed by one individual that our agency has investigated. His victims, including one family with a special-needs child, found themselves facing foreclosure with no warning due to his actions. He took advantage of the complexity of the mortgage modification process and manipulated his victims for his own personal gain,” the Baltimore County Police Department said in a statement.

According to the 46-count charging document, Getlan offered loan modification services from January 2009 through January 2012. The charges specifically refer to nine separate homeowners who fell victim to Getlan’s scheme, in which he allegedly forged documents to support his claim that lenders of the homeowners had approved their loan modifications. Homeowners believed that their monthly payments were going to their lenders; however, the investigation determined that Getlan allegedly deposited those payments into his own accounts. The investigation revealed that Getlan used numerous bank accounts, fictitious company names, and email addresses and fraudulent documents. The investigation also alleges that Getlan changed homeowners’ contact information with their lenders to his own address so that the homeowners would not receive notification of default or pending foreclosure. The total loss to the defrauded homeowners is alleged to exceed $105,000. Additionally, two owner-occupied residences have already been sold at foreclosure and another three homeowners have received Notices of Intent to Foreclose. If convicted, Getlan faces up to 15 years’ imprisonment for each of 18 counts of theft; up to 3 years’ imprisonment for each of 19 violations of the Credit Service Business Act; and up to 10 years’ imprisonment for each of the nine counts of mortgage fraud.

In the fall of 2011, the assistance of the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation was sought by the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office. In February 2012, that partnership resulted in Getlan being sentenced in relation to a guilty plea to felony theft involving a victim of his loan modification scheme. He was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence with eighteen months of supervised probation. Getlan is also pending an arraignment on March 27, 2012 on charges of burglary and theft.

The investigation into Getlan’s activities involved Investigator A. Thomas Koehler of the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation and Detective Dave Donnelly of the Baltimore County Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit. In addition, Erin McCarthy Naylor, Director of Mortgage Fraud for the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, and Assistant State’s Attorney Adam Lippe, Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit, have partnered in the investigation and prosecution of this complex case. Ms. Naylor will be sworn in as a Special Assistant State’s Attorney to assist in the prosecution. She joined the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation in 2011 through a Department of Justice Grant and is responsible for creating and implementing a mortgage fraud outreach program as well as leading efforts to enhance criminal prosecution statewide.

“This is a positive example of local authorities using the resources and expertise of the Division of Financial Regulation in bringing criminal prosecutions, which is essential to fulfilling our role to protect Marylanders,” said Commissioner of Financial Regulation Mark Kaufman.

Consumers who may have been victims of Getlan’s scheme and have not already been contacted by Det. Donnelly or Ms. Naylor are requested to call 410-230-6097 for assistance.

Charges are not a finding of guilt. An individual who has been charged is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation protects and empowers Marylanders by safeguarding workers, protecting consumers, providing a safety net and cultivating a thriving workforce that can meet the demands of Maryland’s dynamic economy. Follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR) and Facebook.