Seven people were indicted in Louisiana in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme in the Lafayette, La., area involving more than 50 properties and more than $1 million, court documents reveal.

The indictment alleges 65 counts of conspiracy, bank fraud and mail fraud against: Anthony T Grishby, a mortgage broker; Howard McZeal, an appraiser; Erin Broussard, a secretary; and loan processors Renay Matthews, Tameshia Matthews, Shawn Hollier and Lori Moreau.

All are Lafayette residents except Hollier, a Leonville, La., resident, and Moreau, who lives in Scott, La.

The seven are accused of fraudulently preparing loan applications to Bank of America via Equicredit Corporation of America for purchases of properties located in Lafayetteand nearby areas. The alleged fraud took place from 1999 to 2001, according to the court papers.

The indictment said the fraudulent applications included false financial figures, false attachments, false social security award letters, false W-2 forms, false work histories and other false documents for unqualified borrowers.

Purchase transactions were represented as refinance transactions and supported by verifications of mortgages prepared and submitted by the defendants, the indictment alleges.

Appraisals reflected artificially inflated valued by omitting the true selling price and falsely listing the borrower as current owner, according to the indictment.

Also, according to the indictment, McZeal doctored photographs for the appraisals to hide inferior qualities and manipulated the comparable sales process by choosing home sales in different geographical regions to arrive at needed amounts.

Loan proceeds were paid to fictitious creditor entities including GSA, First Premierand First Chance, the court document said.

As part of the scheme, Grishbysent up a fax machines to send verifications of mortgage to the Infinity office in order to make them look authentic, the indictment alleges.

Borrowers with assessed excessive charges for credit reports and appraisals, one borrower being charged $650 for an appraisal report that actually cost $450, according to the indictment.

All defendants have appeared and entered pleas of not guilty, media accounts said. Trial is currently scheduled for May 8, 2006, according to media accounts.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to janis@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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