Nearly 100 arrested in South Florida during massive nationwide raid targeting mortgage fraud

The U.S. Justice Department has announced the arrests of nearly 500 people in a nationwide crackdown on mortgage scams, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Hiring a Miami mortgage fraud attorney is critical to protecting your rights as a homeowner or as a defendant suspected of participating in a mortgage fraud scam. As we reported recently on our Miami Criminal Attorney Blog, Florida leads the nation in mortgage fraud cases. As homeowners struggle to retain ownership of their property, they may fall victim to scams. Meanwhile, the aggressive tactics of law enforcement are leading to more and more arrests of agents, brokers and others who are accused of mortgage fraud. In many cases, they may be guilty of nothing more than being victimized by the unprecedented downturn in the real estate market.

In this latest announcement, federal authorities announced they have seized or recovered more than $200 million in the last three months, through a broad range of civil and criminal actions. More than $2.3 billion in losses have been identified through hundreds of mortgage fraud cases. Among those targeted was a case of mortgage fraud in Miami in which two people were charged with obtaining $4.4 million in fraudulent mortgages. The government claims the pair advertised their services to Haitian-Americans, offering to help with immigration and government-housing programs. Instead, they are accused of using the personal information of the victims to apply for mortgages.

Nearly 1 in 5 of the arrests occurred in South Florida — where 86 were arrested for mortgage fraud, the Miami Herald reported. Dubbed “Operation Stolen Dreams,” the defendants are accused of obtaining $76 million in fraudulent loans. Those arrested include mortgage and real estate brokers, loan and title processors, straw buyers and a pair of title attorneys.

More arrests are expected, according to Amos Rojas Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Miami operations center. “This is a serious crime that has heavily affected many communities and families in South Florida,” Rojas said. “We are vigorously combating this issue and will continue to investigate and arrest those criminals who engage in this crime.”