An Irvine based Fannie Mae REO associate was indicted on federal bribery charges late last month. Armando Granillo, 44, used to work out of the government mortgage giant’s office in Irvine, California as an REO specialist. Apparently Mr. Granillo also specialized in offering brokers listings access to Fannie Mae’s extensive portfolio of foreclosed homes for a 20% kickback off sales commissions.
Granillo approached a broker in Tucson Arizona with such an offer – unfortunately for him the Tucson realtor reported Granillo to the authorities. An elaborate sting operation was set up where Granillo flew down to Phoenix to meet the broker and receive an $11,200 payment. The entire transaction was caught on tape and Granillo was promptly arrested by federal authorities.
Audio obtained by authorities from the sting operation Granillo states that kickbacks are “a part of the business.” Granillo is currently out on bail. He faces 20 years in prison if found guilty on 3 charges of wire fraud.
As a REO specialist for Fannie Mae, Granillo’s job was to review and approve (or deny) listing offers from real estate brokers who wanted a piece of the Fannie Mae foreclosure action. Instead of doing his job, Granillo used his position of power to solicit bribes from these brokers.
The big question that needs to be asked here is if this is an isolated case, or if it points to something rotten at the core of Fannie Mae. It’s no secret that the keys to the 24 Billion of foreclosed properties owned by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are in the hands of mid-level office workers like Granillo. How many of them are expected to remain totally honest gatekeepers of billions of dollars of assets and not give in to temptation?