Saturday, August 24, 2002

83 indicted in alleged mortgage conspiracy

By The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND - A wide-ranging investigation of alleged mortgage fraud in the Cleveland area has led to the indictment of 83 people and isn't finished yet, authorities said.

        Those charged in federal indictments announced Thursday included appraisers, underwriters and home buyers and sellers.

        Most of the home sales were at fraudulently inflated prices, according to the charges, with the alleged conspirators pocketing the excess loan proceeds.

        U.S. Attorney Emily M. Sweeney said the indictments resulted from a continuing two-year investigation by five federal agencies.

        The defendants allegedly worked together to provide false documentation on applications to qualify for mortgages.

        Forty-two defendants allegedly plotted through local outlets of the American Home Loans national mortgage loan brokering service.

        Thirty defendants worked at AHL outlets in Lyndhurst, Shaker Heights, Beachwood, Maple Heights and Cleveland Heights, Ms. Sweeney said.

        She said corporate headquarters and other AHL outlets had not been implicated.

        A spokesman for AHL corporate offices in Santa Ana, Calif., said the company cooperated in the investigation.


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