HUD Suspends Small Reverse Mortgage Lender Over Fraud Charges

The Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday suspended a Pennsylvania reverse mortgage lender’s ability to originate and underwrite government-backed loans amid charges of fraud.

HUD’s Mortgagee Review Board claims that Seckel Capital, LLC, a Pennsylvania lender and financial advisory firm that has generated a small quantity of Home Equity Conversion Mortgages, submitted false financial documents to the Federal Housing Administration. Specifically, HUD alleges the firm certified that certain papers had been audited by a third-party accounting firm — “when, in fact, they were not,” HUD said in a release announcing the decision.

In a concurrent action, HUD’s Departmental Enforcement Center suspended Seckel Capital owner John Seckel from doing any business with the federal government.

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“HUD found that Seckel Capital and John Seckel engaged in a years-long pattern of submitting false financial statement [sic] to FHA, representing them as properly audited by independent certified public accountants,” the department wrote in the release. “The action against Seckel and his company is the result of HUD’s ongoing effort to hold the mortgage industry accountable for the loans they originate, underwrite, and/or service.”

Seckel Capital had been a minor player in the reverse mortgage world, first appearing on Reverse Market Insight, Inc.’s charts in August 2016 with two endorsed HECMs. Since then, the firm has generated no more than three endorsements per month — a feat it achieved in April — and logged just one loan in June, according to RMI president and founder John K. Lunde.

According to its website, the firm also maintains a wealth management and financial planning arm, Seckel Capital Advisors, and Seckel Capital Insurance, which provides home, automotive, and life insurance, along with annuities.

The firm did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

Written by Alex Spanko

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