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Feds arrest Lantana couple in mortgage fraud crackdown

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A Lantana couple may face up to 30 years in federal prison for mortgage fraud.

A San Antonio federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a nine-count indictment against Robert Brooks, 43, and his wife Cheryl, 41, who reside in Lantana’s Magnolia neighborhood, along with 20 other individuals.

They are charged with conspiring to commit wire and mail fraud in what prosecutors are calling a series of fraudulent property flip schemes from May 2005 to February 2008.

In all, federal prosecutors say that 40 properties, mostly in the Dallas area, were involved and financial institutions in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston were defrauded of $20 million.

Prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of $127,000 as well as the seizure of a 2007 21’ Liberator boat and trailer belonging to Brooks. The indictment also seeks a monetary judgment against all the defendants totaling $1 million. Court summonses have been issued for the defendants. A conviction of conspiracy is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison.

“Mortgage fraud ruins lives, destroys families and devastates whole communities, so attacking the problem from every possible direction is vital,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “We will use every tool available to investigate, prosecute and prevent mortgage fraud, and we will not rest until anyone preying on vulnerable American homeowners is brought to justice.”

In all, the U.S. Justice Department handed down indictments against more than 1,200 individuals, including 29 people in the Western District of Texas, as part of a nationwide effort to crack down on mortgage fraud across the country, dubbed ‘Operation Stolen Dreams’.

The sweep was organized by President Obama’s interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to lead an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.

Some of the information in this article is from the San Antonio Business Journal.

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