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1,000 duped by ‘Dream Homes’ program

Five charged in $70 million mortgage fraud scheme

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More than 1,000 people in Maryland and other states were allegedly duped by a "Dream Homes Program" that promised to take over their mortgage payments in exchange for a half ownership interest in their home and a $50,000 investment in side businesses. The program was actually a massive mortgage fraud scheme that attracted about $70 million in investments, according to a federal grand jury indictment of four defendants unsealed Monday. Metro Dream Homes convinced victims to invest at least $50,000 by refinancing their existing homes or buying new homes at inflated prices, prosecutors said. The company promised to take over victims' mortgage payments and pay their loans off within five to seven years, using revenue generated by supposedly profitable side businesses. The side businesses supposedly generated revenue by installing automated teller machines, flat-screen TVs showing advertising, and electronic kiosks in public places, prosecutors said. In classic Ponzi...