CINCINNATI -- Police Tuesday announced the arrest of three suspects in a sophisticated mortgage fraud ring, but warned the public that three more were still at large.
The group worked together for over two years, according to a news release, to file over $1 million in false titles, deeds and liens on Hamilton County real estate. Having established their "ownership" of these properties, they could then sell them to unsuspecting third parties or claim lien debts.
"Your end game is, if you're recording a false mortgage, then you go ahead and try to sell it, and you get back money on the mortgage that was never there," Hamilton County recorder Norbert Nadel said of the scheme. "There was no mortgage there, but you're getting money back, and that's what they do."
The 21-count indictment of Mariah McCollum, Monai Sherea Brown, and Kimberly, Ayinde, Kaia and Jelani Khamisi includes seven counts each of theft, unauthorized use of property and tampering with records.
McCollum, Brown and Jelani Khamisi were all in jail on Tuesday, but the remaining Khamisis remained at large.
Nadel said real estate crimes such as theirs are rare and hard to identify, but frequent targets of real estate fraud include properties owned by seniors or in the process of foreclosure.