Two indicted in $2.5M Twin Cities mortgage scam


Two people were indicted in federal court today for allegedly orchestrating a $2.5 million mortgage scam. The FBI investigated the case.

Fawaz Mahmoud Wazwaz, 33, and Genevieve Marie McCullough, 32, of Inver Grove Heights, were charged with a eight counts of mortgage fraud. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the pair defrauded lenders of $2.5 million from 2004 to 2006 by recruiting straw buyers to purchase homes at inflated values.

Here's how they did it:

Wazwaz, a loan officer at Commonsense Mortgage, Inc., in Shoreview, found the borrowers and prepared loan applications for them. He got appraisers to inflate the value of the homes, and provided down payments to the straw buyers.

McCullough worked as a real estate closer for two different title companies, and she provided false documents to the lenders. She also charged higher-than-normal closing fees. McCullough helped siphon off money for Wawaz and the others involved, the U.S. Attorney says.

The pair allegedly did this for 14 properties in Minneapolis, four in St. Paul, and one in Fridley.

One man, Taleb Wazwaz, has already pleaded guilty for his role as a straw buyer in the scheme.