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17 indicted in massive mortgage fraud case

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Seventeen people are facing charges in a massive mortgage fraud ring that stole more than $75 million from investors and lenders in the Charlotte area.

The U.S. Attorneys' Office says the group targeted professional athletes, doctors and others to invest in a series of sham corporations. Money was then diverted from the bogus corporations to its mortgage fraud operation.

Law enforcement officials say the ring recruited people to buy luxury homes. In return, they'd receive kickbacks for taking part. The group pocketed profits when the homes were sold at inflated prices.

Most of the activity took place in Charlotte and suburban Waxhaw.

Law enforcement authorities say it's the latest round of criminal charges resulting from a continuing investigation called Operation Wax House. So far, 81 people have been charged.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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