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I knew a real estate agent who routinely paid a portion of his commission to someone inside Fannie Mae. He did a ton of business.

[quote]And investigators are now looking into assertions by Granillo and another former Fannie Mae foreclosure specialist that such kickbacks were "a natural part of business" at the government-sponsored housing finance company, as Granillo allegedly told the broker in a wiretapped conversation.

Investigators are examining whether other workers in Fannie Mae's Irvine office solicited illegal payments, according to three people with knowledge of the probe, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Granillo at first offered to cooperate with investigators but later declined to talk, two of the people said.

Another former foreclosure specialist in Irvine, Cecelia Carter, contends in an Orange County Superior Court lawsuit that Fannie Mae fired her in 2011 for trying to expose the kickbacks.

Fannie Mae is the nation's biggest buyer of home loans and guarantor of mortgages bundled for sale to investors. Granillo was among more than 50 workers in Fannie Mae's Irvine office, which opened in late 2008 after Fannie buckled under the weight of mass defaults on the home loans it had guaranteed. Taxpayers spent $116 billion bailing out the company, which remains under U.S. government control.

The workers' jobs were to move thousands of homes in Western states off Fannie's books through foreclosure sales, giving Granillo the power to select the brokers, who make commissions on each sale. In exchange, investigators allege, he demanded a 20% cut of the Arizona broker's commissions.

In the sting in Los Angeles, federal investigators had wired the broker, identified in court records only as A.M., for sound and video. "As Granillo raised his hands ... I saw him holding the manila envelope containing the cash," special agent James Shields wrote in an affidavit, filed in federal court to support three fraud charges. [quote]

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