Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 03:43 pm
Jamila T. Davis was born in Jamaica Queens and raised in New York. She is a motivational speaker, and she created the Voices of Consequences Enhancement Series for incarcerated females.
Davis’s powerful delivery illustrates the real-life consequences and lessons that can be learned from making poor choices. Davis shares the strategies and techniques she has used to overcome negative thinking patterns and achieve emotional healing and growth. Davis has had both victories and losses.
She was 25 years old when she used her street smarts and business savvy to climb to the top of her industry, becoming a leading figure in Hip-Hop Music Industry as well as a self-made millionaire via real estate investments.
JamilaT. Davis Wiki
Jamila T Davis : On July 16, 2008, just weeks before Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, then-US Attorney Chris Christie (now Governor of New Jersey and Presidential candidate) issued a press release announcing “long prison terms” for two women “for their roles in orchestrating a mortgage fraud scheme to defraud Lehman Brothers Bank… of more than $14 million.
” After being convicted in a New Jersey federal court, Jamila T Davis of Queens Village, NY was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to 151 months (12.5 years) in prison by U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares.
“This is a long prison sentence that appropriately matches the extent and intricacy of the fraud perpetrated,” Christie would say of these penalties. I added the emphasis.
Davis’s deception, in truth, was neither vast nor complex. She was part of a ring that included a real estate salesperson, a mortgage broker, a dishonest real estate attorney, and straw buyers in order to obtain loans for seven (7) expensive New Jersey residences.
While this may appear to be a crime now, it was a widespread practise in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when “straw buyers” were known as “investors” flipping real estate properties for large profits.
Davis, a 25-year-old African-American woman, was a successful real estate broker who soon became adept at helping people with bad credit get into the homes of their dreams.
She catered to high-profile sports, hip-hop artists, and entertainers from her base in New Jersey. Akinelye Adams, a rapper well known for his song “Put It In Your Mouth,” was one of them.
Adams had found a 4,300-square-foot mansion in Cresskill, NJ, that was originally priced for $1.7 million but had been reduced to $1.1 million.
Adams wanted to finalise the sale, so he had an appraisal done. The appraised value was $2.2 million, which was more than double the purchasing price. This was going to be a win-win situation for Adams.
Adams, on the other hand, would back out of the transaction in favour of a different property. Davis arranged to buy the property herself, not wanting to miss out on this real estate arbitrage, but her credit, like that of her clients, was bad.
She approached Nicholas Infantino, a mortgage broker who was supplying mortgages to Aurora Loan Services, a Lehman Brothers Bank affiliate at the time.
Infantino suggested finding a buyer, a straw buyer, with higher credit, and expressed optimism that the transaction would close fast. Davis did exactly that before fabricating bogus pay stubs, bank statements, and other documents.
Davis was concerned that the faked records would fail examination, but Infantino assured her that they were adequate. The falsified bank statements were never checked, and the straw buyer’s employer, Drama Entertainment, did not exist.
A loan for $1.5 million was issued against the property a few weeks after the papers was presented to Aurora, and Davis’s first deal was done.
Six months later, she would use the same bogus papers and straw buyer to obtain a $700,000 loan against the property.
Davis would work on the property with her investor/straw buyer, spending over $400,000 on improvements and keeping up with the bank’s loan payments.
Her plan was to sell the property for a large profit and start afresh. Davis was pushed by Infantino to conduct more deals so that she could find more purchasers for the homes she had indicated.
From February 2002 to May 2003, Lehman would purchase seven properties and make loans against them totaling roughly $22 million, all of which were approved and funded by Lehman and made possible by assessments that substantially surpassed the purchase price.
In 2003, Lehman initiated an internal examination into some of the documentation on the loans it held.
They became sceptical of the papers used in Davis’s loans and concluded they were fake after some investigation.
The FBI received the information from Lehman. Davis’s name was placed on an FBI “alert” list that was sent to every mortgage business in the New Jersey area.
She hired a lawyer right away, and meetings with the US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey were set up in the hopes of resolving the situation before any criminal charges were brought.
That discussion, according to Davis, ended in an agreement to sell the properties in order to make Lehman whole, but that never happened.
Despite having lined up investors to buy the homes, Lehman, who was presented with Davis’s offer through the US Attorney’s Office, turned them all down. Davis was arrested and charged with fraud in 2006.
Infantino (mortgage broker) was the first to work against her, followed by the dishonest attorney, and finally her own business partner.
Knowing she was facing prison, Davis asked her lawyer to arrange a guilty plea with prosecutors in order to avoid a harsher sentence.
Prosecutors, on the other hand, were not interested, and their sole offer was to lock Davis up for nearly ten years.
She went to trial hoping to persuade a jury that she had relied on valid assessments, Aurora/aggressive Lehman’s lending methods, and that the government’s argument that Lehman lost money in the scheme was exaggerated.
Carl Peterson of Aurora Loan Services testified for the prosecution during Davis’s trial and was asked:
“Would Lehman Brothers Bank have made the loan if it had known that any information on those bank records was erroneous or false, or that these were not even real bank statements?”
“Absolutely not,” he replied.
That was a simpler answer to provide during a 2007 trial, when mortgage failures were on the rise across the country, than it could have been in 2002, when Aurora/Lehman was rubber-stamping billion-dollar loans. Just a thought.
On September 20, 2007, a jury found her guilty on all counts. Lehman eventually sold all of the properties at a discount for $14 million, resulting in a loss of over $10 million for the bank.
No one from Lehman or Aurora was charged, and no one lost their job as a result of the investigation.
Numerous than this one in New Jersey, Lehman was a victim of other real estate frauds. Charles Fitzgerald, according to Forbes’ Peter Beller, had his own real estate plan in the works in Beverly Hills at the same period (early 2000s) that cost the bank $40 million.
Fitzgerald would be sentenced to 14 years in jail in the future. I could write about every faulty mortgage Lehman was engaged in for the rest of my life if I wanted to.
It’s been nearly seven years since Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. Low interest rates, inaccurate credit ratings, and aggressive mortgage lending were the culprits.
While a number of banks have been held accountable through multiple settlements, tiny fish like Davis have paid the price with their life and have spent more than a decade in prison.
If a major bank or mortgage industry executive (such as Jimmy Cayne of Lehman Brothers or Angelo Mizilo of Countrywide) were convicted at trial and sentenced to 12.5 years in jail, it would be lauded as a tough punishment appropriate for the crime committed. That, obviously, never happened.
Davis’ conviction and sentencing amounted to little more than a few publicity releases for her. In February 2019, she will be freed from Danbury Federal Prison in Connecticut.
Jamila Davis is the first to confess she made a mistake and committed a crime. It wasn’t without the help of a willing collaborator, a bank, who helped her stroll right into danger.
She could have avoided a lengthy prison sentence by participating early in the case, but prosecutors had lost interest in her by the time others stepped forward to accuse her of being the ringleader.
Her book, The High Price I Had To Pay, chronicles her tumultuous path. The book delves deeper than the legal complexities of her case; it demonstrates how tough it is for the average individual to defend themselves against charges that may place them in prison for decades.
It also details her contributions to society as a result of her efforts to spread her cautionary tale to others.
She recognises that she deserves to be in prison, but that she did not deserve such a lengthy sentence. With no due examination, Lehman took Davis’ loans at face value, loaned the money, and pocketed the gains.
Lehman may have made a good victim during Davis’s trial, but few people today would think so. Jamila’s tale is about how our justice system treats the 99 percent of the population.
A resounding “No” will be heard if you ask someone on the street if white collar criminals are receiving harsh enough punishments. That may be true for individuals who work at Lehman Brothers and Aurora, but no one can suggest Jamila Davis was given a free pass.