It is now official - not only does Indiana have the highest mortgage foreclosure rate in the country but the New York Times is reporting that Robert Penn of Indianapolis "perpetrated one of the largest mortgage frauds in American history, victimizing dozens of [Virginia] residents and, according to sources with knowledge of the accusations, at least $40 million in fraudulent loans - perhaps even twice that amount" - on properties in Indianapolis.
penn's relatives in small-town virginia duped their neighbors into joining what they were told was a no-risk investment opportunity. penn bought a bunch of houses in westfield and indy's east side, paying the market price to the sellers. but he had the houses reappraised at inflated prices, took out loans under the names of his virginian investors, and pocketed the difference, leaving the investors with expensive mortgages they didn't even know existed.
countrywide, one of the country's largest mortgage companies, has filed suit against penn and several other individuals and business that countrywide claims were in on the scam. the indy star has more, including the list of defendants and lists of the properties in indy and westfield mentioned in the lawsuit.¶