Broker proposes unique penalty for fraudsters

by |
Most industry players agree the penalties for fraud are too soft, and one broker is proposing regulators target homeowners who knowingly sign inaccurate documents.

“Everybody talks about fraud – FSCO, CMHC, Genworth, the lenders – but nobody does anything about it,” Ad Lakhanpal of Mortgage Alliance told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “My recommendation is that they shouldn’t go after the broker who signs the documents; (focus on) the borrower who signs off on the information saying it’s true.”

Lakhanpal believes this harsher stance would lower the level of fraud in the industry.

“If the information proves to be inaccurate, revoke the mortgage and give the client 30 days to find alternative financing,” he said. “If they don’t, they lose the home.”

While it’s a unique strategy, it’s one that likely won’t gain traction. Consumers can face prosecution by the courts if they are found guilty of committing fraud, but regulators have no power to police the public.

And industry players argue it’s the brokers who have to be punished, not the clients.

“I don’t agree because you’re punishing the clients and not the brokers; clients don’t really know the ramifications of signing falsified documents,” Ross Taylor of Mortgage Intelligence Ross Taylor and Associates told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “It seems easier to police ourselves than the clients because they don’t necessarily know what they are signing off on and most don’t study the documents.”

The suggestion was spurred by the latest incident involved a major lender and 45 brokers who allegedly falsified income documents.

Home Capital recently announced it had severed ties with those brokers after an investigation pointed to falsified information about borrowers’ income.

The contracts were suspended between September and March, but many in the industry argue a harsher stance needs to be taken.
 
  • Tomas on 2015-08-11 9:52:28 AM

    Uhhh...you know "uttering a false document" is already in the criminal code right?

  • Karim Talib on 2015-08-11 10:06:48 AM

    The regulators are here to protect the public and they rely on the licensees to act in accordance to the rules and ethics.
    We, as an industry, need to do a better job at preventing fraud - all brokers and agents need to stand against that borrower/referral party who wants us to do "whatever it takes" to make a mortgage deal work.

    Remember, it's your license and reputation that is at stake, not theirs.

  • Ron Butler on 2015-08-11 10:55:55 AM

    Look, it's just not workable to "name names". If you accuse a mortgage broker or a realtor or a member of the public of fraud you have to prove it in a court of law, that is the nature of our system in Canada. So nobody is just "publishing" anything.

  • Dumb Article on 2015-08-11 11:27:22 AM

    This is the dumbest article posted here in a while.
    Running out of real content?

  • Ross Taylor on 2015-08-11 12:00:46 PM

    Clients are not "signing falsified documents". Usually they are signing their acceptance of a lender commitment - and just initialing the pages which have the lender conditions laid out.

    In general, many clients don’t study the commitment, they expect their broker, banker or mortgage specialist to highlight what is important.

    The conditions will specify what the lender requires in terms of income and employment verification documents.

    It's quite possible some of the clients in the Home Capital situation may not have directly participated in fulfilling these conditions.

  • Vince Gaetano on 2015-08-11 12:28:16 PM

    I read this article while on vacation and wonder how this piece was published....simply unbelievable that this recommendation would have a name and firm behind it. Quite entertaining!

  • Joel Sida on 2015-08-11 1:54:52 PM

    Not sure of what I just read???

  • Paul on 2015-08-11 2:21:35 PM

    Unless found guilty at court, or otherwise should not publish the personal particulars in the media, it is not fair.

  • Foys on 2015-08-11 3:44:49 PM

    I'm not taking the side of a fraudster, but here is one more thing to think about.

    Years ago BDM's from Home Trust, Resmor, and others would come into my office and try to get us to bring them stated income mortgages. They would all say, "Just have them state whatever they want, but make the TDS below 40%".

    So who is to blame when a mortgage funded on this basis goes south?

    I have watched numerous mortgage brokers in the US get charged for giving the lenders what they asked for, but the lenders took no blame.

    Home Trust still has a similar stated income letter. Perhaps they should be talking to their aggressive BDM's and find out what they are saying to brokers.

    Just saying.

  • Paul Therien - CENTUM on 2015-08-11 6:10:52 PM

    I would be very careful here. Unless you can prove that the individuals have been complicit in the act of committing fraud this would fall under defamation.

    Yes there are certain due diligence procedures that likely should have occurred that did not, but that does not necessarily mean that they were part of the act. Albeit not a part of the solution.

    REDEX itself has come under fire for publishing the names of brokers who were cut off for "fraud" without evidence supporting that the broker was the party that committed the fraud.

    We have a duty to report fraud to the authorities, ALL of us, including lenders. We are not however both judge and jury. In Canada we are innocent until proven guilty, and we all have the right to due process. For those that cry out for a public burning at the stake, I council caution. Would you ask for the same treatment if you became the victim of a fraud circle.

  • Paul Therien - CENTUM on 2015-08-11 6:17:27 PM

    I would be very careful here. Unless you can prove that the individuals have been complicit in the act of committing fraud this would fall under defamation.

    Yes there are certain due diligence procedures that likely should have occurred that did not, but that does not necessarily mean that they were part of the act. Albeit not a part of the solution.

    REDEX itself has come under fire for publishing the names of brokers who were cut off for "fraud" without evidence supporting that the broker was the party that committed the fraud.

    We have a duty to report fraud to the authorities, ALL of us, including lenders. We are not however both judge and jury. In Canada we are innocent until proven guilty, and we all have the right to due process. For those that cry out for a public burning at the stake, I council caution. Would you ask for the same treatment if you became the victim of a fraud circle.

Broker news forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Name (required)
Comment (required)
By submitting, I agree to the Terms & Conditions