A Missouri real estate agent and two former loan officers were indicted in a $12.6 million mortgage fraud scheme that involved 25 residential properties in Lee’s Summit, Mo., and Raymore, Mo., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri John Wood said on Wednesday. A 34-count indictment of individuals ranging in age from 29 to 50 years old was returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City. That this sort of fraud could take place in Missouri — thousands of miles away from fraud hotbeds in California and Florida — is telling. “This is one of the largest mortgage fraud cases ever prosecuted in our district, and illustrates that this is a problem that affects not only low-income neighborhoods, but also more affluent suburbs,” Wood said in a U.S. Department of Justice press statement. “Mortgage fraud poses a significant economic threat and directly impacts the well-being of our neighborhoods. A number of financial institutions suffered significant losses and innocent homeowners in the targeted subdivisions continue to experience the fallout of this alleged scheme as many of these houses are now sitting empty, neglected and in foreclosure.” Wednesday’s indictment alleges that real estate agent Angela Clark, along with former mortgage loan officers Cynthia Jordan and Stefan Guerra, were involved in a conspiracy with 14 property buyers to defraud mortgage lenders between June 2005 and May 2007. According to the indictment, the defendants bought and sold new homes in several upscale subdivisions of Lee’s Summit and Raymore. Buyers allegedly provided false information to obtain mortgages, purchased homes at inflated prices and then kept the remaining funds. The indictment also alleges these buyers created shell companies to receive kickbacks–anywhere from $60,000 to $125,000–from home builder Jerry Emerick, who will be charged separately for his role in the scheme. Mortgage lenders approved 25 loans totaling $12.6 million, according to the indictment. From that total, buyers allegedly received $2.3 million in excess funds without the lenders’ knowledge. Clark allegedly received approximately $381,495, and mortgage brokers received commissions. Charges contained in the indictment are simply accusations and not evidence of guilt, which will be determined by a federal trial jury. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute those who engage in mortgage fraud, and our efforts should help restore the integrity of the housing market,” Wood said. Write to Diana Golobay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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