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Bail Hearing Set For Florida Man Accused Of Real Estate Fraud

After spending several days in a Florida correctional facility without bail, a man implicated in a mortgage scheme was granted a bail hearing in an Orlando courthouse today. The 47-year-old man was arrested on Friday after being the subject of a three-year Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into fraudulent mortgage activities. Two other people who were also implicated in the investigation were granted a $25,000 signature bond and released after making their first appearances in court.

The investigation concerned actions taken by the man and his associates from 2005 to 2012. The group is accused of making false statements with regards to mortgage loan applications. The false statements were intended to induce lenders to approve mortgages or secure more favorable terms based on the false information. The FBI believes that the group obtained roughly $50 million through fraud.

Complicating the issue for the Florida man are past criminal complaints, including convictions for robbery, conspiracy, money laundering, and a plea of no contest in a 2000 case involving defrauding a financial institution in Lee County. These past convictions may play a role in the judge's decision regarding bail.

The investigation into the group was conducted by the FBI's Fraud Task Force. That group works with local law enforcement and targets white collar and other financial crimes, including mortgage fraud. It has led to hundreds of prosecutions, many in Florida, following the collapse of the housing market. The group aggressively targets and prosecutes anyone suspected of fraudulent activities in the real estate or financial industries.

Source: The Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Man facing federal fraud charges in mortgage scheme gets bail hearing," by Frank Fernandez, 2 April 2013

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