Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dumb and Dumber

Nicholas Andre: Where's all the money?
Lloyd: That's as good as money, sir. Those are IOUs. Go ahead and add it up, every cents accounted for. Look, see this, that's a car, 275 thou- might want to hang on to that one.
Dumb and Dumber, from the movie.

Mr. Jacobs says she explained that the group needed people with good credit ratings to be used for real-estate investments that would be made as a group, not individually. Mr. Jacobs, who was living with his mother at the time and says he couldn't afford to buy a home of his own, says he understood that he wouldn't have to make any payments or assume any financial obligations but would receive payments for letting the group use his credit record.

"It sounded pretty good," Mr. Jacobs says. "Everything I asked them, they had an answer for.

Mr. Jacobs and others who joined the group say they were rushed into signing documents without being given time to read them. Within weeks of signing those papers, Mr. Jacobs says, he received two payments, totaling $7,000, from the Penns. After a few more months, however, he began to get calls from Countrywide representatives demanding mortgage payments. Mr. Jacobs says it turned out that two loans, totaling more than $200,000, had been taken out in his name and that he owned two houses. He says he now thinks the houses might be worth only around $40,000 apiece.

Others who signed up for the group say their credit ratings have been so devastated that they can no longer buy anything on credit. "My dad brought me up to pay my bills before I eat," says Nancy Muse, who heard about the group from a friend who used Ms. Penn as a hairdresser. Months later, Ms. Muse found out she was in trouble when she inquired about buying a modular home for herself. A representative of the home-building company checked her credit and told her she already owned four homes.
Dumb and Dumber, from Page One of today's Wall Street Journal: Town's Residents Say They Were Targets of Big Mortgage Fraud.


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