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U.S. Charges 14 People in Florida Mortgage Fraud Scheme

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Fourteen people were charged with operating a scheme to acquire more than $47 million in mortgage loans and 22 residential properties in the Sarasota, Florida, area, prosecutors said.

The defendants are accused in an indictment unsealed today of lying on financing documents from October 1997 to March 2008 to get loans from banks and mortgage lenders in the Sarasota area, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa.

“Mortgage fraud has negatively affected many areas of Florida,” U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill said in the statement. “This case represents the depth of that impact and the tenacious commitment by law enforcement, at all levels, to vigorously investigate and prosecute these types of crimes.”

The defendants face charges including of conspiracy to make false statements to federally insured banks in connection with mortgage loans, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $1 million fine.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.

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