Federal prosecutors released a 15-count indictment charging that seven defendants from various places around Florida had colluded in obtaining about $49.6 million in fraudulent loans, resulting in millions in losses to lenders including Bank of America, Regions Bank, SunTrust Bank and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo).
According to the indictment, the defendants used shell companies to acquire a residential property called Hampton Springs in Cashiers, N.C. They then allegedly recruited straw buyers to purchase lots in the development, submitting phony information on loan application documents to ensure the buyers qualified. One defendant, Victor Miguel Vidal, actually worked as a loan officer at SunTrust, where he made sure the phony applications made it through the approval process, according to prosecutors.
In this way, the defendants allegedly obtained millions in mortgage and construction loans. The proceeds of the loans were funneled through shell companies and used for the defendants’ benefit and to further the scheme, according to prosecutors.
The indictment includes charges of wire fraud affecting a financial institution, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Each charge carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and restitution.
Seven people have been charged in Miami in connection with a $49 million mortgage scam in North Carolina, according to an Associated Press report.