21 charged in multimillion-dollar mortgage scams
Federal agents announced the arrests of 21 men and women Wednesday, who they say were part of a mortgage schemes in Nassau and Suffolk that cost nearly $13 million.
The individuals, most of whom were from Long Island, were charged with everything from narcotics trafficking to mortgage fraud. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Peter Smith says ringleader Robert Guerrero worked with phony homebuyers to fraudulently buy dozens of properties in Huntington, Huntington Station, Greenlawn, Bay Shore and Uniondale. According to ICE, the financial conditions of the buyers were overstated in order to purchase the homes. Many of the homes were used for drug dealing, according to authorities.
Smith describes the scheme as such: "You go out, you buy a house. You get it for a low cost, you repair the home then you sell it again. You get a mortgage on that and then somebody walks away from that mortgage. They've got the money and then they foreclose on the house."
The suspects were arraigned in Brooklyn. If convicted, the suspects facing bank fraud charges face up to 30 years behind bars and life in prison on the drug trafficking charges.