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Houston man indicted in alleged real estate fraud scheme

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A Houston man was indicted in a multimillion-dollar mortgage scheme said to have been going on in that city since 2002. Lawrence Randall Benham, 41, is charged with five counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and one count each of bank fraud and making a monetary transaction with criminally derived property, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas said. Wire fraud, mail fraud or bank fraud carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison upon conviction. The monetary transaction charge carries a maximum 10-year prison term upon conviction. Additionally, substantial fines and restitution to victims can be ordered. The indictment alleges that Benham devised a mortgage fraud scheme in which he located residential properties for sale, and persuaded and used others as nominee purchasers of the properties for his benefit. Benhan is accused of using the nominee borrower's credit and identifying information on loan applications, allegedly exaggerati...