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 straw buyer’s creditworthiness, false income and asset documentation were provided by Hooker and Garland, Murphy said.

Relying on the falsely inflated appraisals and fraudulent documentation, lending institutions approved and disbursed loans, Murphy said. These loans often subsequently went into default leaving the lending institutions with insufficient collateral and substantial losses, according to Murphy.

The affidavits filed in support of the criminal complaints also allege mortgage fraud schemes intended to defraud financial institutions, lending companies and individuals in the Detroit metro area and elsewhere, Murphy said.

The defendants played various roles in the schemes including processing fraudulent loan applications, recruiting straw buyers, arranging falsely inflated appraisals, and receiving illegal kickbacks from loan proceeds, Murphy said.

Along with Hooker and Garland, 17 other Michigan residents were indicted. They are:

Nicole Jackson, 34, Southfield; Antwan Mcrae, 31, Detroit; Keith Lakey, 43, West Bloomfield; Monique Bankhead, 32, Detroit; Michael Bigbee, 27, Detroit; Elbe White, 33, Southfield; Tyrone Claybrook, 33, Detroit; Chad Evans, 38, Grosse Pointe Park; Sylvester Hickson, 56, Southgate; Darrick McCaster, 36, Southfield; Kara Motley, 38, Detroit; Yolanda Lance, 33, Southfield; Jennie Moore, 24, Farmington Hills; Maxine Matthews, 62, Detroit; Jerry Matthews, 34, Oak Park; Timothy Nowc, 35, Westland; Jeffrey Stillman, 45, West Bloomfield.

Rex Reddick, 37 of Woodland Hills, Calif., was also indicted in connection with the alleged scheme.


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