Indictments follow Texas probe of mortgage fraud
An investigation into mortgage fraud in cities across North Texas has led to indictments targeting 40 people. Prosecutors say the group used phony buyers, questionable documents and inflated appraisals to sell houses — including properties in the Hills Creek neighborhood of McKinney — for more than what they were worth. In 2002, one house on Hills Creek Drive was valued at $315,000; by January 2006, it sold for $625,000. Prosecutors said the value of other modest homes was increased to as much as $715,000. When the properties sold, prosecutors allege that the profits went to the man at the top in the form of "disbursements." "And then he's gone, with some $200-$300,000 in profit from that particular transaction," said US Attorney John Bales. What happens next? "The house is foreclosed on and the asset is a dead weight on the bank's books," Bales explained.