- Associated Press - Monday, January 13, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - Seven people are facing federal charges in South Florida stemming from an alleged $49 million mortgage fraud scheme in North Carolina.

Miami federal prosecutors say a 15-count indictment details how the group used shell companies, phony documents and straw buyers to fraudulently obtain bank loans between 2003 and 2008. The suspects are all Florida residents and the properties were in a development in Cashiers, N.C.

One of those charged was a loan officer at SunTrust Mortgage who was able to move some loan applications through. Other institutions victimized in the fraud were Bank of America, Regions Bank and Wachovia, which is now Wells Fargo.

Prosecutors say charges against the group include bank fraud conspiracy and wire fraud. Each of the 15 charges carries a maximum 30-year prison sentence.

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