FL Expects Surge of Mortgage Fraud Cases
Posted Sep 28, 2007 3:54 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
An attorney has been charged with 17 others in a $42 million South Florida mortgage fraud case that authorities say is part of an expected explosion of such prosecutions.
In addition to this new case and another smaller mortgage fraud prosecution, U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta also announced today a new federal-state joint initiative to investigate and prosecute mortgage fraud, reports the Miami Herald. "'Over the next several months you should expect to see a number of similar mortgage fraud schemes indicted here in South Florida,'' he said.
The state is now considered the mortgage fraud capital of the country, and at least 50 FBI investigations are currently being pursued, the newspaper reports.
The $42 million prosecution announced today involves bogus no-money-down 100-percent-financing mortgage loans allegedly used to buy 17 condominiums in South Beach, along the Atlantic Ocean north of downtown Miami. Attorney Gary Mark Mills, who owned a title company, a mortgage broker and a bank loan officer allegedly conspired to obtain the funding, which was reportedly part of a scheme, backed with fraudulent documents, to obtain mortgages in amounts higher than the value of the condos. Besides funding all buyer costs, the extra funds allegedly covered fees and seller proceeds that the trio paid to themselves, the Herald reports.
"Acosta said mortgage fraud is widespread," the article states, "affecting neighborhoods across all socioeconomic strata, and involving professional insiders at almost every stage of the loan process."
Major mortgage fraud cases have previously been prosecuted in Atlanta. A lawyer there recently accepted a plea agreement in a $20 million case, as discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post.