A former sales manager for Palm Beach-based Ocwen Loan Servicing has pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in connection with hisof foreclosed homes for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Benjamin Graves was responsible for renovating foreclosed properties in preparation for resale. According to court papers, Graves took kickbacks from an electrical contractor in exchange for lucrative contracts. Graves would submit that contractor’s bid plus two higher fake bids to Ocwen.
An ongoing VA investigation of foreclosed properties uncovered the scheme. Graves faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Note: When allegedly competitive bidding keeps sending business to the same contractor, that should be a red flag. Never allow just one employee to handle the entire bidding process. Either assign a committee to evaluate bids, or rotate reviews among different personnel. Auditors should make a habit of randomly contacting losing bidders to verify their authenticity.