Industry News

20 indicted in multimillion-dollar real estate scheme

Accused of loan fraud on Michigan properties

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A federal grand jury indicted 19 Michigan residents and one Californian in an alleged multimillion-dollar Michigan mortgage fraud scheme, officials said Tuesday. The indictment charges that starting in January 2003, the 20 defendants and others conspired to get fraudulent loans on numerous Michigan properties, splitting up the ill-gotten gains, Stephen J. Murphy, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said. The individuals face charges including wire fraud and mail fraud, Murphy said. According to the indictment, Myron L. Hooker, 39, of Southfield, Mich., and Peter Garland, 36, of Southfield, Mich., orchestrated the fraud, officials said. The pair allegedly directed the activities of loan officers, straw buyers, collusive sellers, real estate appraisers, and closing agents, some of whom are also charged in the indictment. Officials said Hooker and Garland falsely inflated appraisals on real estate and paid straw buyers to act as purchasers of the property. To bolster the s...