SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Two lawyers, a real estate appraiser and two other people have been accused of running a central New York mortgage fraud ring that stole more than $1 million from first-time homebuyers and lending insitutions
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the defendants advertised a rent-to-own program for first-time buyers with weak credit that promised no down payments and no closing costs.
They had acquired dozens of rundown properties in the Syracuse area from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, gotten bogus appraisals and taken out mortgages.
Prosecutors say they then engineered refinancing in the names of the people taken in by the rent-to-own scheme and kept the proceeds, leaving the prospective homeowners to pay off two loans.
They're facing a variety of charges, including residential mortgage fraud, grand larceny and falsifying business records.