November 18, 2008

It's the American Dream! (Nigerian Scammer Style)

Here's an National Public Radio article about one of the folks Congress voted $700 billion to bailout:

Emmanuel Njoku thought he was living the American dream. The immigrant from Nigeria invested in real estate and rode the housing boom to great heights.

At the peak, Njoku owned 16 properties in Prince George's County, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. But with the housing bubble now burst, Njoku is living a nightmare.

Basically every other home in the upscale Promise neighborhood near Bowie, Md., is in foreclosure, says Njoku. He says one potential buyer took a look at the neighborhood, where Njoku once owned property, and decided it must be cursed.

In fact, more than 800 homes in this ZIP code are in some stage of the foreclosure process, according to the research firm RealtyTrac. One of them is the home Emmanuel Njoku and his family used to live in — a sprawling 7,000-square-foot house finished in stone. He purchased this million-dollar dream house at the age of 34, as a first-generation immigrant.

But Njoku couldn't afford the payments and moved out three months ago, and the bank is threatening foreclosure.

Njoku, a pharmacist by profession, got into real estate when his wife's health deteriorated after the birth of their second child. He hoped to supplement his salary. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. As the value of the homes he owned shot higher, he pulled equity out to buy other homes.

Njoku says it was all made possible by skyrocketing home prices and easy credit from lenders who helped him purchase homes while he was showing very little income.

"I have two guys that I literally called the miracle workers because they did a miracle. We're talking about situations where a salary of $20,000 purchased a $560,000 house."

Sound impossible? Here's how he did it: The down payment came from a credit card, and as the value of the house rose, Njoku was able to cash out $60,000 and then an additional $100,000. He says it was a "money generator."

An eager alliance of builders and lenders and investors, like Njoku, helped fuel the housing bubble. At the peak, in the summer of 2006, his 16 properties were worth more than $8 million. His net worth was over $2 million, he says.

"The appreciation factor — the refinance ability — made a sweet ride," he says. Njoku acknowledges he was naive.

Naive. No, not exactly. A commenter on this NPR story dredged this up this miscreant's personal website:

"As a new pharmacist, I investigated a second job for residual income. I learned the importance of time management and I began to seriously consider future financial planning. My first encounter with real estate investing was with the Carlton Sheets “NO MONEY DOWN" Program. With assistance from a personal coach, I learned how to build wealth through buying and renting carefully selected properties. My first investment transactions in May 2001 were a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) single family home and a townhouse in Capital Heights, Maryland. This was quite an exciting learning experience. My wife challenged me to attend pre-licensing classes at the Weichert Realtors Andrews office in Camp Springs, Maryland in the year 2001. I received my Maryland Real Estate License. The Rich Dad, Poor Dad home study course by Robert Kiosoki was instrumental in my investment education. I learned the importance of having a legacy for my son and daughter. I believe education is an on ongoing, lifelong decision. I am currently a student of the Donald Trump University Wealth Building Program."

"Over the years I have helped many families and individuals buy, rent or sell homes. I have assisted other investors, friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers. My past clients continuously reward me with referrals, the greatest compliment that I can receive."

http://www.emmanuelnjoku.com/mission.php

Back to NPR:

He, like a lot of others, thought U.S. home prices would continue rising indefinitely. But now about half of his properties are in foreclosure, and the other half are worth less than he owes on them. He works nights as a pharmacist, but the income doesn't come close to covering his obligations. Bankruptcy is a real threat.

And as the bubble — that Njoku admits he helped to create — bursts, many of his neighbors in this majority African-American county are struggling, too.

"I don't honestly know how these communities are going to be able to bounce back. Quite frankly, it's scary because you have these beautiful homes, these beautiful communities that were striving, and now all of a sudden there's a silent suction of hope and progress out of the lives of people. It's just hard to put to words," Njoku says.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

26 comments:

RKU said...

Well, the Nigerian guy is indeed a "NAM"...but not exactly the sort of "NAM" you'd been focusing on in terms of education, socio-ec status, etc...

I have a feeling he's much more typical of the underlying Meltdown problem than all those urban "NAMs" buying homes for $21,000 in Detroit (that's NOT a misprint!)

green mamba said...

It's nice to see NPR listeners in the comments section almost unanimously tearing into Mr. Njoku and NPR's presentation of him as a victim. If NPR listeners - often thought of as the epitome of WhiterPeople - can see through political correctness and get angry about it, maybe there is hope yet. Or maybe it just shows the magnitude of the media manipulation we are living through.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

A pharmacist making $20,000 a year? I know a few, and they make far more than that. And how much do you want to bet his wife never had serious health issues? These people make up all sorts of shit to make themselves seem worthy of pity.

I've only been on this planet a bit over 30 years, but I was paying to politics from an early age. I remember being no more than 6 or 7 and sitting next to my dad, watching the evening news. I remember actually being quite interested in what was going on.

So I've seen a lot of bad political decisions made, by Republicans, by Democrats. But the current trend towards rewarding people who act irresponsibly (the bailout) or who break the law (the amnesty) is past my breaking point. This is, figuratively, the point where the vandals in and rape, loot, and pillage.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

Is this the same Nigerian who invented the internet?

Anonymous said...

This may or may not be relevant to the topic at hand: I was recently scammed for $1,500. Someone got a hold of my debit card information and went on a spending spree. I was in Chicago at the time, but the money was spent in Dearborn, Michigan (a city known for having a, uh, diverse population), at two gas stations (!) and a clothing store.

The bank reimbursed me. I doubt the culprit has been caught. How much of this kind of thing - which is apparently very common these days - is responsible for the problems banks are having these days?

Truth said...

"And how much do you want to bet his wife never had serious health issues?"

I'll bet you a week's salary, now how do we get an answer.

Anonymous said...

"and now all of a sudden there's a silent suction of hope and progress out of the lives of people."

Don't worry, dude, even if the hope is sucked out you'll still have change.

Anonymous said...

"I'll bet you a week's salary, now how do we get an answer."

Mr. Truth,
My name is Osagyefo Otombo. My wife has a very rare medical condition that requires very expensive drugs on a daily basis. I have $25 million dollars in a Swiss bank account but I cannot access it as I do not have any ready cash. If you could please send me $30,000 dollars, I will be able to get the money and I will send you $10 million for your help. Thank you for your kindness in this time of need.

Sincerely,
Osagyefo Otombo
345 River Walk Way
Garki Area 1, P.M.B. 88,
Garki, Abuja.

Anonymous said...

I heard this story on NPR a week ago.

The words "speculator" and "speculating" were never mentioned.

The phrase "American Dream" was said several times.

The NPR people said nothing negative about him. He, in turn, didn't seem to be ashamed of himself.

It was a bit surreal. Was this supposed to be a sob story?

hcl said...

The "scam" in the title's too harsh. He's simply someone who chanced on a wave, one that he didn't understand the underlying physics of, and rode.

What went wrong here? The banks simply shouldn't have extended loans to a bad credit like him, in the essence. The banks are at fault.

big bill said...

Anonymous, the point of the NPR show was to reinforce that no matter how bad or evil someone's behavior is, as long as they are not white, they are not morally culpable.

In the NPR world, ultimately there must be a white man who is the proximate cause of their suffering. In this case, the "bank" or the "lenders".

Note the response by Mr. Weiss in the letters to the editor. He generalized that "Americans" were evil and led the man astray. He condemned the other commented who blamed "Nigerians". They shall remain blameless.

"Americans" to the Weisses of the world is equivalent to "white Evangelical Christian".

dearieme said...

"It's just hard to put to words": I thought he put it rather well.

feminizedwesternmale said...

Undoubtedly his ancillary career was possible due to the hue of his skin - which allows a funder to check the appropriate box and receive praise (and reward) for funding our poor, disadvantaged American.

Anonymous said...

A lot of blame for this crisis belongs to Robert Kiyosaki, I'm glad to see him mentioned. He was peddling the advice that you shouldn't sit on the equity in your house, you should take all the equity out and reinvest it elsewhere.

Plato said...

Captain Jack Aubrey,

Just wait until you've been on the planet another ten years and realize that any bad decisions on the part of puppet party one or two don't mean dick to the people who run this laughable sham.

Anonymous said...

The American striver really has a cargo cult mentality. They see that rich people own stocks and rich people own real estate. Therefore if they own stocks and if they own real estate, they will be rich.

So my mother, the Florida real estate speculator, also claimed to be worth 2 millions dollars. She also went in for the get rich quick courses in real estate. She's not dumb, just blinded by greed.

John of London said...

Ithink this is the first mention I've seen here of those courses, which are also advertised in Britain, on how to "build wealth" thru property investment with no money down. Worth more attention?

Anonymous said...

The take home message for me of this thread is that an African 'invented' the internet.

I did read the link posted by the Capt there but I'm still a bit hazy on the details. As was the article itself...

Mr. Anon said...

"John of London said...

I think this is the first mention I've seen here of those courses, which are also advertised in Britain, on how to "build wealth" thru property investment with no money down. Worth more attention?"

Courses of this kind are often advertised on television in America, often in half-hour infomercials. They show glowing testimonials by people who brag about how much income they're making and how little time they spend working. A lot of these people are probably now working as pizza deliverymen or big-box store greeters.

One of America's biggest problems today is the get rich without working mentality which now pervades our culture - the belief that we could all be rich if we just found the right scam.

Curious G said...

What does the NAM acronym stand for?

Anonymous said...

NAM - Non Asian Minority.

That is to say groups who tend to do poorly academically and economically but do make up for this with a surplus of vibrancy.

rast said...

What does the NAM acronym stand for?

It means that we need an iSteve FAQ/newbie guide.



(real answer: Non-Asian Minority)

Anonymous said...

NAM means Non Asian Minority.

Also know as blacks and Hispanics. Used Steve Sailer and others as short hand. Just plain "minorities" isn't useful enough because that includes high performers like East Asians.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

NAM means Non Asian Minority. Also know as blacks and Hispanics. Used Steve Sailer and others as short hand. Just plain "minorities" isn't useful enough because that includes high performers like East Asians.

In my school some black organization annually gave out a scholarship to the "highest ranked minority student." Every year it went to a black student, even though there were always a ton of asians and even a hispanic or two (we didn't have many of them) ranked much higher. Just about every kid in that assembly chuckled every year at the irony.

Blacks did not like to admit that other people can be minorities. To them the word "minority" has taken on some sort of magical meaning.

One of America's biggest problems today is the get rich without working mentality which now pervades our culture - the belief that we could all be rich if we just found the right scam.

That's common everywhere. and I remember seeing those real estate infomercials all the way back in the mid-80s, when I was still in grammar school.

Anonymous said...

these beautiful communities that were striving, and now all of a sudden there's a silent suction of hope and progress out of the lives of people

beautiful communities - thats the money quote! You knew when you read that just who comprised these communities without reading anything else in that piece. Not German-Americans, not Swedes, not in Switzerland or Italy.

David said...

"Beautiful communities" - the amount of plain lying in this country is staggering. Almost everything you read or hear is either

a) very slanted

or

b) a barefaced lie.

On some subjects, all b).

The best way to understand what the paid media is pushing at you is to flip it. Whatever they are saying, state the opposite to yourself. You will often find that "the opposite" better comports with the facts, even the selective facts acknowledged in the piece you are flipping.