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Raleigh Credit Repair Orchestrator and Ring of 11 Participant s Charged with Bank and Wire Fraud

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Raleigh Credit Repair Orchestrator and Ring of 11 Participants Charged with Bank and Wire Fraud, Aggravated ID Theft, Conspiracy and Perjury | USAO-EDNC

(STL.News) – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced the unsealing of a Second Superseding Indictment charging the following: Michael Anthony Griffin, Sr. (“MGriffin”) 52, of Knightdale, North Carolina; Regina Griffin (MGriffin’s sister), 48, of Raleigh, North Carolina; Angela Griffin (MGriffin’s wife), 52, of Knightdale, North Carolina; Creshun Alexandria Griffin (MGriffin’s daughter), 26, of Knightdale, North Carolina; Sharon Annita Edmond (MGriffin’s sister), 51, of Raleigh, North Carolina; Katina Griffin Perry (MGriffin’s sister), 47, of Raleigh, North Carolina; Harvey Griffin (MGriffin’s brother) 46, of Raleigh, North Carolina; Melvin Griffin (MGriffin’s brother), 44, of Knightdale, North Carolina; Shawn Allen Farmer, 51, of Cary, North Carolina; Jasmine Mariah Davis, 28, of Lakeland, Florida; Tyrone Edmonds, 46, of Weldon, North Carolina; Conscina Marie Brooks, 27, of Knightdale, North Carolina; and Jasper Deonta Goodman, 46, of Raleigh, North Carolina.  The charge includes 50 counts, consisting of Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, Making False Statements to a Bank on Loan, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Perjury.

The United States Attorney stated, “After months of continuing investigation we are finally bringing to justice many of those who participated in this expansive fraud upon banks, merchants, and the credit market as a whole.  The ongoing pandemic has not slowed our efforts to hold accountable all of those who would engage in the frauds charged in this case.”

The indictment charges that MGriffin, operating from his business location in Raleigh and home in Knightdale, accepted fees from clients for alleged credit repair services.  The indictment alleges that, in reality, Griffin was creating fictitious credit profiles and fraudulently altering client credit data through the use of fictitious police reports.

The indictment further charges that various defendants conspired with MGriffin to defraud Synchrony Bank, a Lowe’s credit card provider, by opening credit accounts in the name of fraudulent identities, cashing out the accounts through prepaid card purchases, and then defaulting on the credit accounts.  The indictment also charges various defendants with similar frauds against other banks, including Capital One and Discover.

The indictment further charges various defendants with using fraudulent identities, bank statements, pay stubs, and other documents, for use in defrauding banks, lenders, merchants, and landlords.  In one such charge, MGriffin is charged with presenting a fraudulent social security card and number to Johnson Automotive to purchase a Hyundai Genesis, a vehicle with a purchase price of more than $72,000.

The indictment further charges the defendants with aggravated identity theft, in that many of the fraudulent identities utilized in the scheme involved the use of a stolen social security number.

Lastly, certain defendants are further charged with committing perjury for lying to a federal grand jury.

The charges were unsealed today following the arrest of several of the defendants.

If convicted, the maximum punishment for committing Bank Fraud and Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, violations of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1344 and 1349, is not more than 30 years in prison.  The maximum punishment for Wire Fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343, is not more than 20 years imprisonment.  The maximum punishment for Making a False Statement to a Bank on a Loan is not more than 30 years in prison.  The maximum penalty for committing Aggravated Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1), is not less than two years imprisonment, consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed.

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If you need a co-signer, you’re not ready | Business

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My fiancée and I want to make an offer on a house. She has a lot of late payments and a bad credit record, though, but she is working hard to manage her money better and get out of debt. I don’t make enough money to get a home loan by myself, and I have some debt to pay off, too. In order to help us out, my aunt and uncle said they are willing to co-sign a mortgage loan for us. What do you think of that idea?

Here’s a simple, solid piece of advice for anyone looking to make a purchase of any kind. If you need a co-signer, you’re not ready to make that purchase—period. I’m not trying to beat you up or anything, but it’s way too soon for you two to be thinking about buying a home. I mean, for starters you’re just engaged right now.

When a lender requires a co-signer, it basically means they don’t believe you’ll pay back the money. And besides, you two don’t need a house now or right after you get married. The two of you should get married, and live in a decent, inexpensive apartment for a while. During that time, you both need to work hard on paying off all your debt. After that, save up an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. Then, start setting aside cash for a down payment on a modest home.

When it comes time to buy a home, I recommend a 15-year, fixed rate loan with a down payment of at least 10%. Twenty% is better, because it will help you avoid having to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance). Make sure the monthly payments on the loan are no more than 25% of your combined take home pay. Keeping the payments at 25% or below will make it easier to address other important financial issues, like saving and investing.

Your aunt and uncle are obviously generous people, Evan, but they’re a little misguided in their offer. At this point, helping you two buy a house — something you obviously can’t afford —would be a huge burden instead of a blessing.

Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business, and CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 11 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations and digital outlets. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business, and CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 11 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations and digital outlets. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

 

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Dave says: If you need a cosigner, you're not ready – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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Dave says: If you need a cosigner, you’re not ready  Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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How to improve your credit score in 2021: Easy and effective tips

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If you’ve ever wondered “What is my credit score?” it’s probably time to find out. Having a good credit score can make life a lot more affordable. If you’re about to buy a house or car, for example, the higher your credit score is, the lower your interest rate (and therefore, monthly cost) will probably be.

Your number may also be the deciding factor for whether or not you can get a loan and ultimately determine if you are even able to buy something you want or need.

So, yes, the goal is to have the highest possible credit score you can, but increasing the number doesn’t just happen overnight. There are important steps to take if you want to increase your score, and the sooner you start working on it, the better.

“If you’re trying to increase (your credit score) substantially to accomplish a goal, you’re really going to have to have as much lead time as possible,” said Thomas Nitzsche, director of media and brand at Money Management International, a nonprofit financial counseling and education provider that advises people on how to legally and ethically improve their credit score on their own.

If you have fair credit and you’re trying to improve the number for a house purchase, for instance, you’ll want to start working on it at least a year in advance, he explained to TMRW.

But even though that sounds like a long time away, you can (and should!) start doing things right now to bump that number up. Below, see seven things you should do — and not do — to help improve your credit score:

1. Review your credit report

Review your credit report and look for errors that might be hurting your score. Morsa Images / Getty Images

The first thing you’ll want to do is pull up a copy of your current report so you know where you stand. You can get free reports from all three agencies — TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax — at annualcreditreport.com. Nitzsche said it’s important to take a moment and understand the financial snapshot of where you are today and where you want to be.

You’ll also want to take some time and look for any errors on your report, which could negatively impact your score. “If your name is misspelled, that’s not going to hurt your score,” he explained. “But if you see a late payment or missed payment (that’s in error), or maybe you have an account that should be reporting but isn’t, then that’s a problem and that will impact your score.”

If there is an error, you should dispute it and try to provide as much proof as you can.

One other thing: You can also ask a creditor to remove an issue if it’s been corrected (i.e., if you paid off a collection debt). Nitzsche said it doesn’t hurt to ask and the worst thing they could say is no.

2. Have good financial habits

“The biggest part of your credit score is payment history, so the most critical thing is never missing a due date,” Nitzsche said. Set up a monthly autopay or add all due dates to your calendar so you never miss a bill.

You can also achieve a higher score when you mix different types of accounts on your credit report. It may seem counterintuitive to get extra points for having debt in the form of student loans, mortgages and auto loans, but as long as you’re paying them off responsibly, it shows that you’re reliable.

3. Aim to use 30% or less of your credit at any given time

Know your credit limit and aim to only use 30% or less of it for a better credit score.Tim Robberts / Getty Images

Know your credit card limit, and try not to use any more than 30% of that number each month, otherwise your score could lose points for too much credit utilization.

Another thing you can do is ask your bank to increase your limit. “That will give you more flexibility to spend more,” Nitzsche said. You could also pay it off twice a month to keep the balance low. But he does warn that you never know when the balance is going to be reported to the bureau. It can happen at any point during the month, so it might be the day after you make the payment or the day before. “You don’t necessarily want to use the card and pay it the next day because that doesn’t give the bureau the chance to know that you’re using it,” he said.

4. Avoid requests for new credit

If you’re looking to increase your score around the time you want to buy a house or car, you won’t want to open up a new line of credit, like a retail card, credit card or loan. That’s because “hard” credit inquiries like those can lower your score, and sometimes it comes down to a few points over whether you’re approved or what your rate will be, Nitzsche said.

“Soft” credit inquiries, like when an employer checks your credit or when you pull your own report, won’t affect your score.

5. Keep all accounts open, even ones you don’t use anymore

Even if you don’t use that credit card from college, it’s a good idea to just keep it open because closing it could hurt your score. Nitzsche explained that you’ll be dinged some points for each account that is closed. If you want or need to mentally break up with a card, just cut it up instead.

6. Build your credit if needed

If you haven’t established credit yet, you might not even exist … in the credit report space, that is! “If someone has never fallen in delinquency on any subscriptions or utilities or never had collections on anything and they have not utilized credit cards or loans in the past seven to 10 years, they may not have a credit profile at all,” Nitzsche said. “That presents a challenge when you want to buy a home.”

If this sounds familiar, you may have to get a secured credit card where you put down a deposit, he advised. “You still have to make payments and use it responsibly. Not all banks offer them but you can usually check with your local bank or credit union.”

7. Reach out for help

If you want personal guidance on boosting your credit score, make an appointment with a credit counselor.kate_sept2004 / Getty Images

There are many apps and credit-monitoring services that can help you stay on top of your credit score. You could also reach out to a professional credit counselor who can help you navigate your specific situation. (Here’s a good resource about finding a reputable service.)

One last thing: Nitzsche warned that everyone should beware of credit repair scams that claim to be able to increase credit scores for an advance fee to get accurate negative information removed (even temporarily) from credit reports.

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