Law enforcement authorities have arrested more than a dozen people in connection with a multi-million dollar mortgage rescue fraud in Queens, the district attorney announced from Kew Gardens this afternoon.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says 26 refinanced residential properties worth about $13 million were stripped over more than $3 million in equities.
Brown said 17 people have been charged, including two attorneys who were allegedly involved in the scheme. They face charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
"The defendants are charged with creating a human tragedy of immense proportions for the homeowners, most of whom are members of Queens' Guyanese community, who had turned to them in desperate need of saving their home from foreclosure," said the district attorney."
The charges allege Roger Huggins and Inderpaul Sookraj were the ringleaders, operating a Richmond Hill firm which claimed to be a home foreclosure rescue company.
Victims included not only the homeowners but also mortgage lenders like J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Met Life and Countrywide.
In one case, Huggins and Sookraj are accused of filing fraudulent documents which said they purchased a Jamaica, Queens home from a woman who had died a year earlier. They later flipped the property at an inflated price and kept the entire loan proceeds.