Federal prosecutors have released the names of nine additional defendants who will be charged in connection with a mortgage fraud scheme that affected the Charlotte area. The defendants are accused of a variety of charges related to the investigation known as Operation Wax House. Authorities say they have established that more than $100 million and 80 homes were affected by that scandal.
Six of the defendants face charges of mortgage fraud, along with bank bribery, money laundering and wire fraud. Among those charged in connection with the scandal are valued community members such as lawyers, builders and real estate agents.
Three individuals are accused of a panel of other crimes, including making false statements to a financial institution. They chose to plead guilty in the case. The three defendants that chose to plead guilty will almost certainly receive a reduced sentence compared to their conspirators when they are sent to trial. Considering the massive amount of evidence that has been amassed against the defendants in this case, it is wise to consider pleading guilty, as the task force had been actively collecting data about the situation for nearly six years.
One of the defendants that pleaded guilty said he was a custom home builder who participated in the scheme. He sold a home to another person at an inflated price, and he then pocketed more than $400,000 in loan income. The man's attorney says that the man has realized that he made significant mistakes in the past, but his client is repentant for his crimes.
It is not yet clear whether the other defendants will choose to attempt a jury trial.
In this case, it is possible that prosecutors offered some of the defendants a reduced sentence if they would expose misdeeds committed by their fellow suspects. This move, along with the guilty plea, likely significantly reduced the jail time and restitution those people must furnish.
Source: The Charlotte Observer, "Nine more charged in Charlotte-area mortgage scheme," Celeste Smith, Sept. 21, 2012.