U.S. authorities charged 41 people in a suspected mortgage fraud scheme that cheated lenders out of more than $64 million on New York state properties, prosecutors said on Thursday.
Thirty-one suspects were arrested or had surrendered in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and North Carolina in a round-up dubbed Operation Bad Deeds.
Prosecutors allege the suspects committed an array of scams including one that targeted people on the verge of losing their homes.
Among those charged are six lawyers, seven loan officers, three mortgage brokers, an accountant and a residential property appraiser.
As the U.S. economy struggles, we will continue to have a zero tolerance policy for those who defraud financial institutions and prey on homeowners on the brink of foreclosure, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference.
It is especially alarming when lawyers, loan officers and mortgage brokers treat their professional licenses as license to loot banks and profit from other people's pain, he said.
(Reporting by Edith Honan, Editing by Daniel Trotta and Cynthia Osterman)