A federal grand jury will convene next month in Indianapolis to look into possible criminal charges in an alleged mortgage fraud scheme by a real estate agent who’s already a defendant in a civil suit filed by lender Countrywide Financial Corp.

Countrywide’s June 22 lawsuit alleges Robert Penn and relatives in Virginia enlisted blue-collar workers and retirees in Martinsville, Va., to participate in a “real estate investment club.” Penn and members of his business circle bought properties in the Indianapolis area, and used fraudulent appraisals to inflate the values of 112 properties, the suit charges.

An Oct. 6 grand jury subpoena suggests Penn may also face criminal charges. The subpoena seeks records of the financial dealings of Penn, his wife Tamara Scott-Penn, mother Beulah Penn, sister Sharon Penn, Jerry Jacquess, Caroles Jacquess, Land Economics LLC, Homevestors LLC, EU Group LLC and RDJ Custom Homes, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Penn, his wife, sister and Land Economics are defendants in the Countrywide lawsuit.

The Star has reported as many as 400 homes may have been part of the scheme, which would make it one of the largest mortgage fraud cases in the nation.

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