Part two of a two-part series. Read part one.
Monday, April 13, 2009 | Todd Lackner thought he had finally found someone he could tell about the bizarre real estate sales he had been tracking.
One night in December, he watched television footage of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, the ranking Republican on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, grilling the executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, giant mortgage companies overseen by the committee.
“That’s who I should call — one of the biggest scams in the nation is happening down the street from his office!” Lackner remembers thinking.
For several months, Lackner, a real estate appraiser and mortgage fraud expert, had tracked scores of condo conversion sales in three complexes in Escondido and San Marcos that carried telltale signs of a fishy deal, especially three years into the housing downturn in San Diego County.
The prices recorded on the condos were extravagant, some nearly three times the price of comparable units. A handful of the same names appeared to buy several condos each at the same time. Nearly all of the buyers listed a common mailing address: 3206 Baumberg in the Bay Area city of Hayward.