Ohio officials are investigating a suspected mortgage fraud ring that allegedly involved buyers paying more than $250,000 over asking price for homes in upscale neighborhoods, with sellers returning the extra money.

The transactions are suspected to be part of a financial shell game in which the buyers pocket refunds from the sellers and walk away from the homes, usually purchased with no money down, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Eight transactions handled by First Liberty Title netted $1.4 million for several sham remodeling companies, police said, and other suspicious sales in Franklin and Delaware counties are under investigation.

Deals were allegedly arranged in the basement office of a Columbus restaurant that was subjected to a search warrant last week. Officials have also subpoenaed documents from an appraiser, mortgage lenders, title companies and mortgage brokers.

The buyers described themselves as Egyptian and Jordanian, the Dispatch reported, and authorities seized the passports of the restaurant’s owners. The paper reported that another couple allegedly involved in the deals has fled the country.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Network with CoStar, Redfin, Realogy, SERHANT., Divvy, and thousands more in-person at ICLV this October. Prices go up Sunday.Register Now×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription