Many convicts — including embezzlers, robbers, meth dealers, and rapists — sold mortgage loans to unsuspecting homeowners in Washington state in recent years while state and federal lawmakers debated and tabled requirements for licensing and background checks, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Ronald Bernard Cox Sr. sold mortgages for as many as eight years, freely admitting that he sold loans even while on work release for felony theft in 2003.
A total of 299 loan originators with criminal records applied for licenses in 2007 when licensing and criminal background checks were first required in Washington state. They applied even though they knew their fingerprints would be checked by law enforcement and that all felonies and gross misdemeanors involving dishonesty within the previous seven years would disqualify them. Half of them — 149 — were denied licenses because of their convictions, and the other half kept their licenses because their convictions were more than seven years old. If the state legislature enacts a proposed law to conform with a new federal law, they, too, will be prohibited from renewing their licenses at the end of 2009.