Mortgage Fraud Conviction

By: Assoc. Press
By: Assoc. Press

A northwest Florida man is among 10 people that a federal jury found guilty in Atlanta on Wednesday in a mortgage fraud scheme that authorities said involved more than $41 million dollars.

Thirteen others pleaded guilty earlier to participating in the scheme. Prosecutors said there were so-called "straw purchasers"; people who are recruited to buy houses in their names at inflated prices.

Among those on trial was Phillip E. Hill, a former Panama City developer who now lives in Blounstown, Florida. He was convicted of conspiracy, loan fraud, mail and wire fraud, and money laundering.

Prosecutors said Hill made more than $14 million dollars through the scheme to obtain mortgages of more than 50 homes and over 250 condominiums.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta said each property was sold at an inflated price to a "straw purchaser" who applied for a mortgage loan based upon the inflated price in what is known as a mortgage "flip."

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