Daily Briefing


February 03, 2010

Laurel man pleads guilty in mortgage fraud case

A Laurel man pleaded guilty Tuesday in a mortgage fraud case that left a lender with a $428,000 loss, the federal government said. Olu Campbell, 29, formerly known as Oluseun Oshosanya, was once a loan officer and a building contractor and used that background to engineer three fraudulent purchases of Baltimore homes in 2008. In two of the cases, Campbell and an associate applied for mortgages by posing as people they knew, using the people's Social Security numbers without their knowledge, along with false documentation, according to the plea agreement. For the third purchase, Campbell recruited a "straw purchaser" who shared her personal information, which he paired with false documents about her assets and employment to get the loan. Campbell's business, Metropolitan Housing Associates LLC, got tens of thousands of dollars for "home conversion fees" and other supposed expenses when the deals settled. Afterward, all three mortgages went into default. Campbell faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the U.S. attorney's office for Maryland, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service said in a joint statement.

- Jamie Smith Hopkins

Grace quarterly earnings rise 6.9% despite weak economy

Chemical maker W.R. Grace said quarterly earnings increased 6.9 percent as it cut costs and improved profit margins despite operating under bankruptcy in a weak economy. The Columbia-based company, which has about 1,100 workers in the area, posted net income of $46.4 million, or 63 cents per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31. That was compared to $43.4 million, or 60 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. The company attributed positive earnings to cost-cutting and realignment of its product portfolio. Sales fell 12 percent to $678.3 million because of consolidation of joint venture Advanced Refining Technologies. The company, which hopes to come out of bankruptcy by the end of second quarter, said that the exact timing is uncertain as it awaits court approval.

- Andrea K. Walker

Magna again delays auction for Preakness, Pimlico, Laurel

Bankrupt Magna Entertainment Corp. has for the third time delayed the sale of Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and the Preakness. The auction is now scheduled for Feb. 23, according to court records. A hearing to approve the plan has been rescheduled for March 3. The company did not give a reason for the delay in court records, but many close to the proceedings have said Magna is waiting to see if opponents of slots at Arundel Mills are able to get enough signatures on a petition to put the issue on the ballot in November. Uncertainty over slots at the Hanover mall could raise the bids for the races by bettering the chances of slots at Laurel Park.

-Andrea K. Walker

Bank of New York Mellon to pay $2.31 billion for PNC unit

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Bank of New York Mellon Corp. said Tuesday it is acquiring the global investment servicing business of PNC Financial Services Group Inc. for $2.31 billion in cash. By buying the Wilmington, Del., business, BNY Mellon said, it will add $855 billion in assets under administration and become the second-largest provider of fund accounting, administration and transfer agency services. The business being acquired is known as Global Investment Servicing Inc., and it provides asset mangers and financial advisers with services such as custody, transfers and fund accounting.

- Associated Press

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