Tales from the Trail

from Reuters Investigates:

In case you missed them

September 23, 2010

Just because it was summer, doesn't mean we weren't busy here at Reuters. Here are a few of our recent special reports that you might have missed.

5 charged in “Dream Home” mortgage fraud

April 27, 2009

Five people have been charged for defrauding about 1,000 people of a total $70 million in a scheme that the Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler called “a mortgage fraud, a securities scam and a ponzi scheme all rolled up into one.”The unsealing of the April 22 indictment also prompted the first press conference of Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the criminal division, who has been on the job five days.And he had some harsh words for anyone trying to take advantage of the mortgage crisis through illegal means.”To those responsible for the egregious practices that have helped bring about mounting rates of foreclosure, and those who prey upon families who find themselves facing the loss of their homes to foreclosure, I say this: Our resolve as a group is great. We will find you, we will prosecute you and we’re going to put you in prison,” Breuer said.The indictment unsealed on Monday charges that the defendants convinced victims to invest at least $50,000 by refinancing their homes or buying new homes at inflated prices by saying that Metro Dream Homes would repay the mortgages in 5 to 7 years for half interest in the home.The defendants allegedly invested funds from later investors to pay mortgages of earlier investors, and were accused of using funds for their own gain — salaries of up to $200,000, paying their own mortgages, employing 10 chauffeurs, maintaining a fleet of luxury cars, and traveling to the 2007 National Basketball Association All-Star game and the 2007 National Football League Super Bowl and staying in luxury accommodations.Click here for more Reuters political coverage