Indictments issued over foreclosure rescue scam
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto announced on Thursday indictments against three people who operated a foreclosure-rescue scam in Las Vegas under the business name of Rescorp.
Jason Todd Wilhite, Ronald Quilang and Benjamin Moraleda falsely claimed that their services would prevent foreclosures on clients’ homes, or that their clients would obtain home-loan modifications with Rescorp’s help. The attorney general alleges the services didn’t happen, and that the defendants further defrauded consumers by having them sign fake deeds of trust that gave the defendants liens on victims’ homes based on bogus promissory notes that falsely claimed loans on the homes. State attorneys argue the defendants’ actions were meant to cloud property titles so that legitimate lenders couldn’t foreclose on victims’ properties.
The attorney general investigated the case after fielding complaints from numerous Rescorp clients who paid thousands of dollars and didn’t receive any loan-modification follow-up from the company.
A Feb. 3 arraignment of the three defendants is scheduled in Las Vegas District Court Department 3. Anyone with information involving the case should call the attorney general’s office at 486-3777.
Bank holding company reports fourth-quarter loss
Western Alliance Bancorporation, the Las Vegas-based holding company for Bank of Nevada and institutions in Arizona and California, on Thursday reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $27.9 million, down from $148.3 million in the same period of the prior year. The loss per share was 41 cents, compared with a loss of $3.94 a year ago.
The company set aside $4.4 million in reserves, lost $5.1 million on the sale of repossessed assets, charged off a goodwill impairment of $4.1 million and lost $3.6 million from securities transactions.
Loans increased by $112 million to $4.1 billion in the last quarter. The company decreased full-time employees by 9 percent to 930 over the last three months.
Shares in Western Alliance gained 26 cents, or 5 percent, to close at $5.46 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Dealerships appeal closure decisions by GM, Chrysler
About 21 percent of the General Motors and Chrysler dealers whose businesses are being shut down by the automakers have filed paperwork appealing the decisions.
Around 600 dealers out of the roughly 2,800 whose franchises were revoked last year have asked for arbitration hearings in an effort to get their franchises back. Dealers have until midnight Monday to file for arbitration.
The appeals mean that many neighborhood showrooms that were shut down or scheduled for closure could return to business. GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. has said he expects hundreds of dealers to win their franchises back during the process, which must be wrapped up by June 14.
GM and Chrysler decided to shed dealerships during severe financial problems that plunged them into bankruptcy protection last summer. While GM has told about 2,000 Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac dealers that they will be phased out by October, about 700 will stay open because the automaker has not taken away all of their brands.
Lower rate for workers’ compensation insurance OK’d
The Nevada Division of Insurance has approved a filing for lower workers’ compensation insurance rates effective March 1.
Rates will decrease by an average of 7.6 percent for workers’ compensation insurance voluntary loss costs and by an average of 3.7 percent for assigned risk rates, Nevada Insurance Commissioner Scott Kipper said.
The reduction, specifically in loss costs, is based on Nevada employers’ experience and future projections, he said. Loss cost is only one component of rates charged by insurers. Each insurer must file a loss cost multiplier that is used to determine final workers’ comp rates.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance submitted the filing. For more information on the filing, visit the insurance division’s web site at www.doi.nv.gov.
Still a Tiger on console: Scandal doesn’t stop Woods game sales
Electronic Arts says its Tiger Woods game franchise grew over the past year, and holiday sales didn’t suffer even as the golfer’s personal life did.
Woods’ self-described extramarital “transgressions” and subsequent media fallout led other companies to drop him.
EA, however, has stood by him. EA Sports President Peter Moore said Thursday it would be “unimaginable” not to have Woods at the masthead of the company’s “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” games.
No sales specific were offered.
EA is launching an online version of the game in an “open beta” test today for anyone to play. It’s free, but added content comes at a cost.
“Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11” launches in June for game consoles and the iPhone.MORTGAGE RATES FALL
Rates for 30-year home loans fell to a shade below 5 percent this week but remained above last month’s record lows.
The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.99 percent, down from 5.06 percent a week earlier, mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday.
The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.4 percent, down from 4.45 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.
Rates on five-year, adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 4.27 percent, down from 4.32 percent a week earlier. Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages dropped to 4.32 percent from 4.39 percent.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS