Mortgage fraud trial under way in Florida

March 2, 2011 at 11:56 AM
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 2 (UPI) -- Lawyers for six law enforcement officers on trial in Florida for a multimillion-dollar home loan scam said their clients were actually victims.

During opening statements Tuesday, the defense attorneys blamed the scheme on two mortgage brokers who cut plea deals and are expected to testify for the government, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

The five police officers and one FBI agent were indicted last July on charges of obtaining loans to buy investment properties in Florida by lying to lenders about their incomes and whether the homes would be their primary residences.

Prosecutors have said the defendants were part of a larger scheme allegedly orchestrated by a former Plantation, Fla. police officer who obtained more than $16.5 million in fraudulent loans, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Each of the six defendants faces prison time if convicted of the conspiracy and fraud charges leveled against them.

Investigation of the scheme began in 2007 after the Plantation police chief received a tip that some of his officers were involved in suspicious real estate activity.

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