Dumped mortgage documents in Centennial may have been in storage

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Boxes and boxes of sensitive mortgage documents may have been left in storage, and someone decided to get rid of them by dumping them outside a building, according to a family member of the former operator.

“My stepmother died five years ago,” said Renee Nelson, whose mother operated Colorado First Financial Mortgage, the company from which the documents appeared to have originated. “I don’t know who was responsible for those documents last, but I’m going to try to find out. That makes me angry.”

It looked like a jackpot for identity thieves — a Dumpster filled with sensitive personal information, including names, social security numbers and tax returns.

“Regardless of the legal ramifications, it is a code of ethics breach for consumers,” Adrienne Randol, the president of the Colorado Association of Mortgage Professionals. “You should retain confidential documents through a period of years and disposal should always be through a shredding device.”

When Ray Assayesh walked behind his business in Centennial Wednesday afternoon, the Dumpster caught his eye.

“It was empty yesterday,” he said. “And now, it’s full, and I saw some folders in there.”

As it turns out, the Dumpster was filled with boxes of folders containing sensitive financial information, apparently from a mortgage company.

“So, I called 7NEWS to help,” said Assayesh.

The folders have one company in common, Colorado First Commercial Mortgage, which has been out of business in Colorado for more than a decade.

“I’m kind of angry about it, to be honest. I want to know who did it,” said Don Pfau, whose father’s personal information is in one of the dumped files. “Even though my father has passed away, they could use that information for other purposes.”

7NEWS contacted the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office to report the crime, and before long, deputies made another discovery in the back of the same complex — dozens more boxes, stacked in piles, hidden from view.

Deputies loaded every box, and detectives will now try to figure out who dumped the sensitive documents for anyone to find.

“I looked at some of those documents and they’ve got personal information, names, social security numbers, so contacting us was absolutely a great idea,” said Lt. David Wellman with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

Defunct mortgage companies dumping files was a widespread national problem about 7 years ago, during the mortgage crisis.

By law, the companies are required to dispose of documents in a way that protects against identity theft.
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