Interesting Housing News Links (March 25, 2009)

* Indictments unveiled in mortgage fraud sting

( Map , News ) – A lawyer, a tax-preparer and the owner of a mortgage brokerage are among more than a dozen people rounded up in what federal officials describe as a major crackdown on mortgage fraud in the Chicago area.

* Head of mortgage fraud scheme pleads guilty

( Map , News ) – Federal prosecutors say 41-year-old Joy Jackson has pleaded guilty in a $35 million mortgage fraud scheme in the Washington area.

* Will: States can’t fight illegal immigration alone (Topeka Capital-Journal)

PHOENIX Police Chief Jack Harris, a solid block of a man with a shock of thick gray hair, is stolid and patient, but there are limits. Clearly he is weary of explaining that this is one of America’s safest large cities, with declining rates of violent crime and property crime, even though it has one of the nation’s highest rates of home foreclosures. Unfortunately, there are the kidnappings.

* Mortgage fraud cases ‘straining’ FBI (Washington Times)

The number of FBI agents investigating mortgage fraud has more than doubled in the past two years, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said Wednesday.

* Appraising the frustration (Akron Beacon Journal)

M ore than 1,100 Summit County property owners are appealing the reappraised values of their homes and businesses, the number expected to peak near 2,500 by the March 31 deadline to file objections. During the last major adjustment six year ago, the county’s Board of Revision handled 1,965 complaints, still the official record, although not, most likely, for long.

* Wall Street opens higher after factory order rise (Tim Paradis)

signs that they might have been too pessimistic. The government is expected to release a report at 10 a.m. EDT showing that sales of new homes fell 2.9 percent last month to a record low. Wall Street expects new home sales fell in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 300,000 units from 309,000 units a month earlier.

* Wall Street adds to gains on upbeat economic data (Tim Paradis)

NEW YORK — Investors returned to Wall Street Wednesday after getting fresh signs that their doomsday forecast for the economy might have been overdone.

* Durable goods orders rise unexpectedly in February (Martin Crutsinger)

Still, the rebound may be temporary. Upticks in retail sales and housing starts last month, along with a private sector group’s index of leading economic indicators dropping less than expected were welcomed, but none were viewed as sustainable given all the problems facing the economy. And a large drop in orders to factories in January was revised even lower, bolstering estimates that February …

* ‘Pay depression’ for workers as inflation hits zero (Harry Wallop, Telegraph)

The warning comes after official figures showed inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index hitting zero, the lowest rate since 1960.

* Stocks open higher after factory orders rise (Tim Paradis)

NEW YORK — Investors returned to Wall Street Wednesday after getting fresh signs that their doomsday forecast for the economy might have been overdone.

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