Six people are facing charges related to allegations that they bought homes and, through misrepresentation, secured overly large loans. The alleged mortgage fraud scheme is said to have defrauded real estate investors and banks out of nearly $6 million. The arrests are the latest result of an investigation that began in 2007 in which several straw buyers and an account were arrested in connection with the group's activities.
Three law enforcement groups took part in the investigation which led to these arrests. The Mortgage Fraud Task Force, the Office of Statewide Prosecution of the Attorney General's Office and the Miami-Dade Police Department made the announcement together. The investigation into this matter is not complete and the police announced that they were still looking for two more people who supposedly participated in plan.
Mortgage fraud allegations are nothing new in South Florida. State and federal investigators have long targeted the residents of Miami and surrounding areas in relation to real estate development and mortgage fraud plots. The Mortgage Fraud Task Force, in particular, has expended massive time and resources in finding and prosecuting Florida residents for mortgage fraud.
Members of the group are facing charges for racketeering, conspiring to racketeer and organized scheme. If found guilty the members face lengthy sentences in federal prison, hefty fines, and the lifelong consequences that attend a felony conviction. Two of the group are currently out on bond, while the other four must make an appearance before a judge to be released on bond.
Source: The Miami Herald, "Six charged in South Florida mortgage-fraud scheme," by Carli Teproff, 3 March 2012