Fourteen people were charged with participating in a nearly $60 million mortgage fraud ring on Thursday following an FBI crackdown, FoxNews.com has learned.
The 14 alleged members of the mortgage fraud ring include real estate attorneys, title closers, appraisers and straw buyers. They were charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud charges. The scheme involved more than 100 properties in New York and Florida, many of which are now in default or foreclosure.
The FBI has 10 of the suspects in custody, and is negotiating the surrender of others. Thirteen of those charged live in the New York area, and 12 of the suspects are expected to appear Thursday afternoon before a judge in the Southern District federal court in New York.
The other alleged member of the mortgage fraud ring was arrested in Texas Thursday morning.
The alleged leader of the ring, according to the indictment, is Gerard Canino, who created numerous mortgage brokerages, including First Class Equities of Long Island, and TAT Mutual Capital. Through these brokerages, the subject allegedly facilitated fraudulent real estate loan transactions throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Five loan officers, four attorneys and one disbarred attorney also were charged in connection to the alleged mortgage fraud.
From 2004 to 2009, Canino and his co-conspirators allegedly arranged home sales between "straw buyers" -- persons who posed as home buyers, but who had no intention of living in, or paying for, the mortgaged properties -- and homeowners, often people in financial distress, who were willing to sell their homes.
These straw buyers were allegedly paid hefty sums to obtain fraudulent mortgages, which were obtained by submitting fraudulent applications and documents, including fake W-2s and tax stubs, according to the indictment.