Flipped Out

Troubling questions about real estate transactions dog a former Cowboy's business

Eight days later, on New Year's Eve, they sold it to Benjamin Osifo, who paid KLT at least $270,000 for the property. That's how much he took out in a mortgage brokered by Kurt Davis and funded by Miskin's client, Home Loan Corp, deed records show. In eight days, the Cowboys' KLT made at least $85,000 on the house.

For some reason, the title company that closed the transaction didn't file the deed and mortgage records in Dallas County until late January. In the meantime, Osifo bought a second house with a pile of borrowed funds, and that transaction made the Cowboys' flip look foot-slow.

It was flipped in a single day.

On January 27, a man named Brent Brasher bought a brand-new brick house in a McKinney subdivision for $201,000. The same day, deed records show, Brasher sold the house to Osifo for at least $279,900, which is the amount of the mortgage Osifo signed and took out in a loan. The flip had to have been set up weeks in advance because Osifo signed the mortgage note on the same day Brasher purchased the house.

The Observer could not determine who brokered that loan, if anyone, or whether Brasher has any relationship with the people involved with KLT.

So who was this buyer who in less than a month bought two flipped houses and was able to secure more than half a million dollars in mortgages?

Osifo did not respond to several messages left at houses in McKinney and Garland, and another left last weekend at his store Benji's, a clothing shop that just had its "grand opening" in The Shops at Willow Bend mall. Benji's sells clothes with labels by Italian designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and Versace.

Public records show Osifo filed for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy on October 31.

In addition to the $550,000 he owes on the two mortgages, Osifo ran up $66,190 on a stack of credit cards before he pulled the bankruptcy trigger. He listed his total monthly income as "$0.00," so for everyone who lent him money, they are likely facing a total loss. The lender on the hook for the McKinney house--which is worth about $201,000, not $279,900--began foreclosing on that loan last month.

Lockhart, whose mortgage company is defending itself in two lawsuits alleging bad business practices and fraud, declined to return several phone calls over the past month. On Friday, a woman who answered his phone at the company said he is no longer working there. William Tisdale, who she said was presently in charge, said he would "check the file" when asked about KLT's involvement with the Reiger house. He declined to return further calls.

What's interesting about the quick-flip scheme outlined by Miskin is the way it parallels a house sale federal authorities suggest was engineered by Tisdale two years ago.

On February 1, 2001, a company owned by Tisdale and his brother, insurance agent Michael Tisdale, bought a stone bungalow in the 6100 block of Anita Street for $172,000. The same day, deed records show, they sold it for at least $265,000.

The buyer was someone using the stolen identity of a California computer software consultant, who took out two mortgages for $265,000 using the man's credit and a fake drivers license.

The flip netted the Tisdales $93,000.

Evidence listed for use in the Tisdales' upcoming ID-theft trial suggests the fake buyer was either the Tisdales or someone working with them. Authorities found the deed to the Anita Street house in the brothers' possession. Michael Tisdale sold the fake-ID buyer a homeowners insurance policy, taken out in the California victim's name.

The holder of those mortgages, Countrywide Home Loans, took its loss and moved on without filing any civil or criminal complaints, records show.

That is not uncommon, Miskin says. "The mortgage market is so huge, a lot of these very large companies don't see fit to waste time on smaller frauds." Unless the figures start adding up to millions, he says, it is difficult to get investigators with the Department of Housing and Urban Development interested, either. "My client is one of the few who are aggressively going after mortgage fraud," he says.

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