WOODBURY - Nassau officials announced today that they have broken up the largest mortgage fraud operation in county history.

According to officials, 17 people have been arrested for identity theft and for stealing more than $20 million from banks, individuals and the county.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice says the ringleaders were James Sweet and Dwayne Benjamin, both of Westbury.

Rice says the group that includes lawyers, mortgage brokers, bank employees and a U.S. postal worker used straw buyers to purchase homes and take mortgage money without ever making payments.