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Lending / The Ticker

Seven defendants indicted in $49.6M mortgage fraud scam

Corrupt dealings alleged in North Carolina property deals

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A mortgage scam that resulted in the origination of $49.6 million in fraudulent loans led to the indictment of seven defendants in North Carolina this week.

An investigation led by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, the FBI, the FDIC and the Office of the Inspector General ended up charging the co-conspirators for causing the approval of millions of dollars in fraudulent loans. The scam harmed big banks such as Bank of America (BAC), Regions Bank (RF), SunTrust Bank (STI) and Wachovia Bank.

Authorities indicted Domenico “Dom” Rabuffo of Miami, Mae Rabuffo of Fort Lauderdale, Diane Hayduk of Miami, Raymond Olivier of Land O’Lakes, Curtis Allen Davis of Tampa, Victor Miguel Vidal of Miami and Lazaro Jesus Perez of Miami Lakes.

The indictment accuses the co-conspirators of causing $49.6 million in fraudulent loan originations, with many of the properties consisting of vacant lots in a North Carolina community development.

Authorities claim the conspirators recruited straw buyers to acquire lots in a Hampton Springs development. The buyers financed the purchase of various building lots using mortgages, while also obtaining construction loans.

False documents and loan applications were submitted to lenders to fund the fictional transactions.

One of the defendants, Victor Miguel Vidal, a loan officer at SunTrust Mortgage, helped carry out the scheme by ushering the fraudulent applications through the loan approval process – including applications for $33 million in construction loans.

The final indictment accuses the defendants of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and substantive bank fraud offenses, authorities say.

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