By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 8, 2019

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A man described by prosecutors as the mastermind of a mortgage fraud scheme that defrauded homeowners, investors, and banks of nearly $1.5 million has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.

A federal judge in Rhode Island also sentenced 57-year-old Hasan Hussain, of Princeton, New Jersey, on Tuesday to four years of probation and ordered him to repay his victims more than $1.4 million.

Prosecutors say Hussain tricked distressed property owners seeking loan modifications into paying him fees, moving out of their homes, and selling their homes in short sale transactions. They say Hussain had people deliberately damage the homes to further drive down their value. He then bought them at reduced prices and flipped them at much higher prices.

He pleaded guilty to September.

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