Fannie Mae Foreclosure Specialist: Taking Bribes Is Illegal?

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A veteran Orange County foreclosure specialist at federal government-created Fannie Mae hoped a wild defense would allow him to evade a criminal conviction after executing a bribery plot against an Arizona real estate broker.

Armando Granillo claimed he didn't know that demanding and accepting bribes was illegal because kickbacks were commonplace in his Irvine office.

"If there is circumstantial evidence that other people took kickbacks or bribes, and that such behavior was tolerated, if not sanctioned, by Fannie Mae, then the jury should decide if this circumstantial evidence shows that Mr. Granillo had an honest belief he was not violating the law," argued the 45-year-old defendants's public defender, David I. Wasserman.

In 2013, Granillo contacted a Tucson-based real estate broker and told the person (whose identity is sealed) that he could assign 100 foreclosed properties to that person's company in exchange for a secret 20 percent kickback on all commissions earned.

On March 5 of that year, Granillo--using what he erroneously thought was an untraceable pre-paid cell phone listed under another man's name--lured the broker to a Starbucks parking lot on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, accepted a package containing $11,200 in cash and immediately found himself under arrest.

The broker had been recording their conversations and wearing a body wire during face-to-face meetings as well as working with agents with Fannie Mae's Inspector General's office.

Unimpressed federal prosecutors dismissed Granillo's rationale for concocting his scheme as "the everyone was doing it defense."

This month inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, a jury convicted the Huntington Beach man of depriving Fannie Mae of "honest and faithful services."

Granillo's lawyer asked U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter to overturn the jury's verdicts, but he refused.

A May 27 sentencing hearing is scheduled.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.


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12 comments
Ken Webb
Ken Webb

As a Realtor I knew a lot was going on just by watching how many homes some brokers got and knew of deals where people demanded cash under the table on short sales or foreclosure -- it's far to big a web to undo with homeowners stealing equity to buy cars vacations and other items,.. Then getting granted a short sale. It's like stealing and getting more prizes for doing so. Just about every 2nd or more mortgage was for something wonky like this. I don't think anyone even cares to calculate the theft by homeowners - it's nuts -

Nick Riviera
Nick Riviera

They should give him a plea deal for testifying against everyone else in his office! IRS should take everything away from these greedy scumbags!

taidodinh
taidodinh

he did it going to report to the goverment n irs

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

It's a shame more people don't understand why assclowns like this guy undermine the public's financial health.  Of course, Fannie Mae is even more guilty of hurting the little guy. 

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@20ftjesus  

I agree. And I think our educational systems needs place more emphasis on the teaching of math as it applies to personal finances...perhaps less people would be taken advantage of then?

20ftjesus
20ftjesus topcommenter

@fishwithoutbicycle  I'd be happy if high schools spent even a few hours worth of RE basics during Econ class and educate about the home loan debacle in Hist.

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay

I still put most of the blame on the Banking Institutions...it's their job to crunch the numbers and see if granting a loan is a viable option for their clients. I think they flummoxed the American people on purpose...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@20ftjesus @fishwithoutbicycle


The mortgage crisis / collapse was driven by PURE GREED ... on behalf of both the Banking Institutions and the Individuals who were taking out the loans.


Capitalism at it's finest.



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