Go Mortgage sues former capital markets director for ‘corporate sabotage’

Katie Chikonde, the former director of capital markets, was sued for alleged computer fraud, violation of trade secrets and breach of contract

Go Mortgage sued its former director of capital markets for “corporate sabotage,” alleging computer fraud, violation of trade secrets, breach of contract and tortious interference with a business relationship.

The lender claims actions by Katie Chikonde cost the lender millions of dollars.

Chikonde, who was hired in January 2021, managed Go Mortgage’s warehouse lines, pricing, hedging and loan sales. She was the primary contact between Go Mortgage and its institutional lenders, investors and securitization counterparts. 

Chikonde was hired originally by GSF Mortgage Corp – before the lender was acquired by Go Mortgage in November 2021. Chikonde’s agreement remained in full effect as she continued working for Go Mortgage before abruptly resigning in July 2022 without notice, the lawsuit claims.

Prior to Chikonde’s departure, she contacted each of Go Mortgage’s warehouse lenders, investors, as well as government-sponsored enterprises, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to defame Go Mortgage and its officers, according to a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on July 13. 

The Ohio-based lender alleged that Chikonde provided counterparties with false information including that Go Mortgage had no one to run its capital markets department. 

“As a direct and proximate result of Chikonde’s actions, Fannie Mae temporarily suspended Go Mortgage’s seller/service number, which caused the company to be unable to deliver loans,” the suit said. 

Go Mortgage’s counterparties terminated and/or temporarily stopped their business relationship with the lender, forcing the lender to explain that it was able to continue its business process, the lawsuit said. 

Chikonde, the sole authorized administrative user of the Black Knight’s product and pricing engine unit Optimal Blue, introduced false and inaccurate information and erroneous settings within the Optimal Blue platform, Go alleged in the suit.

“Chikonde’s actions caused the company to hedge its loan pipeline based on false and inaccurate information. Ultimately, Chikonde’s conduct resulted in the Company realizing severe financial losses,” the lawsuit reads.

(Chikonde worked at Optimal Blue for five years before joining Go Mortgage, according to her LinkedIn profile.)

It was in December 2022 that the lender discovered Chikonde’s actions regarding Optimal Blue. By then, Go Mortgage had sustained millions of dollars of financial losses. 

Go Mortgage is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, costs, expenses, and attorney fees in an amount to be determined at trial. 

Attorneys for the plaintiff declined to comment as the litigation is pending. Chikonde didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

Chikonde is a vice president and director of capital markets with Dart Bank, a position she held since August 2022. 

Go Mortgage, licensed in 44 states, originates in both the retail and wholesale channels. In the wholesale channel, the Ohio lender is predominantly construction-oriented — filling the niche with mortgage brokers who are trying to provide construction lending solutions.

The lender hired more than 160 employees from the now-shuttered Finance of America (FoA) in January 2023. 

Steven Reich, a division president at Go Mortgage and a former executive at FoA, who brought over 21 former FoA retail branches to the lender, previously said in an interview with HousingWire that the goal is to originate $1 billion in loan volume within his new division.

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