"This is the biggest foreclosure scam Cuyahoga County has ever tackled," Prosecutor Bill Mason tells Channel 3 News.
Thursday he announced the indictments in a scheme he says involved 51 houses in Bedford, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Garfield Heights, Maple Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid, and Warrensville Heights.
Six of the 30 indicted were charged under RICO laws, accusing them of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Three members of the Bevel family were indicted. Otis Bevel, Jr. is a local real estate broker.
Mason says today’s indictment is part of a larger enterprise involving more than 60 million dollars in fraudulent loans by various people and more than 500 pieces of real estate.
The value of the properties involved in today's indictment is nearly $5 million. Forty of the houses are in foreclosure or tax delinquent status.
The indictment alleges Otis Bevel, his family, and several others were in the business of fraudulently purchasing homes.
They ordered, picked up and passed on false or fictitious loan documents to title companies to submit to lenders so that a customer would purchase real estate which they were not qualified to purchase, said Mason.
So far in 2007, 16 cases of mortgage fraud have resulted in indictments, including today’s case. These cases total 171 defendants and have resulted in over approximately $41.5 million in fraudulent loans for 256 properties, located in 17 Cleveland area communities.