A federal mortgage fraud case in Hattiesburg, Miss., against eight defendants is slated to start July 24, media accounts said.

The U.S. District Court could take up to four weeks to try, according to documents on file in the Hattiesburg Division clerk’s office, the Hattiesburg American reported April 30.

The trial of Richard B. Lucas and seven other defendants is to start July 24 with Judge Keith Starrett presiding and is likely to hinge on former partners testifying against each other, media accounts said.

The trial of Richard B. Lucas, Phillip N. Weary, Kimberly A. Castle, Kenneth Stalnaker, Loretta Joy Champ, William V. Fairley, also known as William Vaston, Jafus Jones Jr., and Kristy N. Packer is scheduled to begin July 24, media reports said.

These eight individuals, along with Malcolm C. Clark and Marcy R. Irby, were indicted on Feb. 16, 2006, on 12 counts relating to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, accounts said. Lucas, Weary, and Castle were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, accounts said.

The nine-page indictment sets out a complicated scheme involving inflated real estate appraisals, false applications for bank loans and “purchasers” who were given money to use for down payments and quick re-sales of the property, known as flipping, accounts said.

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