Six Michigan residents were in federal court recently as they faced an indictment in connection with mortgage fraud, money laundering and drug charges. These individuals allegedly participated in an elaborate scheme that encompassed several illegal enterprises, all intertwined with each other. The criminal proceedings resulted from a two-year investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
The purported conspiracy allegedly began as a way to defraud lenders by arranging mortgages for homes using incorrect or falsified information. The falsified information included the information necessary to obtain a loan, including place of employment, verifiable income and the source of the down payments. Authorities claim that the information appeared to be accurate and thus the lender approved the loans and the homes were illegally obtained.
In addition to mortgage fraud, the six defendants are accused of running a drug trafficking network from Arizona to Michigan. According to the indictment, several of the individuals involved in the indictment would send packages of drugs through the U.S. mail using falsified business names or return addresses in order to conceal the identities of the shipping and receiving parties. They would then deposit the drug trafficking proceeds locally in Detroit-area banks. The money was later withdrawn from bank branches in Arizona, in amounts of less than $10,000-- allegedly to avoid detection by the IRS. It's believed that the six used the mortgage fraud profits to support the drug trade in which they were involved.
Though the defendants in this matter have pled guilty to the accusations in the federal indictment, they still have the right to a fair legal process and competent representation for any and all crimes of which they stand accused. Anyone accused of a crime has the right to a fair trial and it is extremely important that right be upheld, no matter the severity of the accusation. "Innocent until proven guilty" is still the law of the land.
Source: Justice.gov, "Six Michigan Residents Plead Guilty to Marijuana Trafficking, Mortgage Fraud, Arson and Money Laundering," Nov. 7, 2011