A Michigan woman and her niece were arrested in Atlanta by the FBI at the closing of a $1 million mortgage loan in an alleged mortgage fraud scheme, federal officials said last week.

Donna June Baker, 60, of Kalamazoo, Mich., allegedly used the stolen identity of a disabled retiree from Florida at a Feb. 17 closing on a million-dollar mortgage loan to refinance a property at 940 Glengate Place in Atlanta, according to officials.

The closing, however, was a sting operation set up by the federal government. Baker planned to walk away from the closing with nearly $100,000 in cash, but instead left in FBI handcuffs, according to officials.

Also arrested at the closing table was the former owner of the property, Baker’s niece, Lanamasha Wesalanda Mixon-Hampton, 30, of Atlanta, officials said. Mixon-Hampton is alleged to have provided false employment and income to “qualify” the borrower for this loan.

“The sting operation which resulted in this arrest is an example of one of the tools now used by law enforcement to fight the Atlanta area mortgage fraud problem, which is one of the most severe in the country,” said U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias in a statement.

“Sting operations like this one should put mortgage fraudsters on notice that they can never be sure who is monitoring their criminal schemes. Fraudsters should understand that they may be spending their nights in jail rather than in the neighborhoods they have targeted,” Nahmias said.

According to Nahmias and documents and information presented in court, the criminal complaint alleges Baker tried to commit bank fraud by using a stolen identity with a false address, employment, assets and liabilities to obtain a million-dollar mortgage refinance loan from First National Bank of Arizona.

Baker allegedly used the name and Social Security number of a permanently disabled retiree, who is actually living on Social Security and a small pension in Florida, Nahmias said.

The complaint alleges Baker, using the identity of the retiree, claimed that her income was $23,500 a month to the mortgage lender, according to Nahmias. According to the complaint, this million-dollar property was originally bought using the same stolen name and social security number in September 2005 from Baker’s niece, Mixon-Hampton, who is also charged in a criminal complaint, Nahmias said.

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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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