n my Saturday Night Race Card post a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was researching a book on real estate fraud and corruption.
The main characters in my narrative are a couple who look like you and me and seem perfectly lovely. But in the go-go days of free mortgages last decade, they bought ten homes with almost no money and no credit, and as the market skyrocketed they cashed out on re-fis to the tune of millions.
Then when the market tanked and they found themselves upside on every property, they divorced for legal purposes (they’ve never not lived together), divvied up the homes, named each other as creditors, filed for individual Chapter 7 bankruptcies, lied repeatedly on the filings, wiped out millions in debts, were allowed to keep the upside homes because the bankruptcy trustees only want assets that they can convert to cash for the creditors, and have continued to collect rent from tenants while the homes are in foreclosure—going on four and five years.
A few days ago, as part of my research, I dispatched