• Suburban Exodus Regions Now Among Hardest Hit By Housing Downturn

    While property values in Chicago have suffered, the housing market is also suffering in the distant suburban markets that were once among the fastest-growing in the United States. An August 22, 2011, article from the Chicago News Cooperative reported that in 2009 and 2010, Kendall County was among the top foreclosure rates in Illinois after seeing a growth of “some 110 percent” between 2000 and 2010 and being the fastest-growing county in the country, according to the Census Bureau.

    Erik Doersching, vice president of the Schaumburg-based real estate analysis firm, Tracy Cross & Associates, told the CNC that the “sudden halt to building in the far suburbs has changed the way people define the contours of the Chicago region.” He added that “places that were verging on becoming part of the Chicago area … have reverted to rural status and are likely to stay that way for at least another generation.”

    The CNC article noted that while the downturn has meant a good bargain for some recent buyers, it’s been much harder on people losing homes-voluntarily or by foreclosure -where people in smaller towns “tend to know other people’s business.” As Diane Hammon, the president of the DeKalb Area Association of Realtors, told the CNC about what she tells the people “absolutely crushed with embarrassment” at closings she sits with them at, “Look, this isn’t your fault. You got sick. Or you went through a divorce. Or you lost your job. You’re not alone.”

    People all over Illinois are dealing with these issues, and if a bank is unwilling to cooperate and accept a loan modification that will keep you in your home, our lawyers can help you in filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to halt foreclosure proceedings and any other collection activities.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers


  • Man Sentenced To More Than 17 Years In Mortgage Fraud Scheme

    A former South Holland man will spend more than 17 years in federal prison after directing a mortgage fraud scheme that cost lenders about $16 million for properties on the South Side, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. A release from the U.S. Attorney’s office said the sentence is one of the longest ever given to a mortgage fraud defendant in Chicago.

    Kenneth Steward, 45, was sentenced on August 17, 2011, to 17 1/2 years in prison for his part  in a $35 million mortgage fraud scheme involving more than 120 residences, the Sun-Times said. The scheme caused lenders and financial institutions to lose about $16 million in mortgage loans that were not repaid by borrowers or recovered through foreclosure sales .

    Court records showed Steward pocketed undisclosed payments and kickbacks from about 109 fraudulent transactions, also controlling about $3.1 million in post-closing funds over the course of the scheme. Between 2004 and 2008, he orchestrated the fraudulent purchase and resale of dozens of residences, causing lenders to issue almost $27.8 million in loans and lose more than $14.5 million. He was also part of a larger scheme that involved 122 residences, and at least 74 of the 109 residences on the South Side fell into foreclosure, according to the Sun-Times.

    Steward was arrested and charged in July 2010 before pleading guilty in June 2011 to nine counts of wire fraud, four counts of bank fraud and three counts of mail fraud, according to the Sun-Times. Charges against six co-defendants in the case are pending.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

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