“[T]he managers and employees charged today knew it,” said Mr. Vance.
Several of those charged, which include Abacus’ chief credit officer and many of its loan officers, had punchy American nicknames: Wen Fang “Fanny” Wang, Qibin “Ken” Yu, Yuk Yin “Loretta” Lam Cheng, to name a few.
Ms. Cheng and colleague Wai Ching “Alice” Wong are accused of helping originators embellish their incomes for borrowers. Loan originators like “Fanny” Weng and Ying Chuan “Shelley” Wang are accused of instructing borrowers how to lie in their applications, like falsifying Verification of Employment forms.
“Today’s charges allege that with respect to its loan department, mortgage fraud became institutionalized at Abacus Bank,” said Mr. Vance.
Ironically enough, many of these borrowers are making their monthly mortgage payments, Mr. Vance admitted.
The bank, which is headquartered at 6 Bowery Street in Chinatown, has seven branches throughout the city, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
In a statement sent out moments following Mr. Vance’s presser, Abacus said it was “greatly disappointed” by the District Attorney’s office’s decision to indict them.
“We never imagined our bank would be the target of this investigation, since it is indisputable that the bank itself discovered, investigated and reported the results of its investigation to law enforcement authorities, its regulator, and Fannie Mae. Senior executives at the bank took the immediate, decisive action that initiated this investigation, and there is no evidence that any senior executive at the bank engaged in illegal behavior. Moreover, the only victim in this matter is the bank itself. Neither Fannie Mae nor the borrowers were ever harmed.”
Back at the press conference, Mr. Vance called for “on-topic” questions (read – nothing regarding Etan Patz).
Karen Freifeld of Reuters raised her hand, saying that it “seemed sort of odd that you’re (Mr. Vance) going after a bank where these loans have not defaulted –there are so many major banks out there where loans have defaulted in great numbers.”
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